28.05.22 - 18.09.22


/// Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au


How do we protect and enhance the mauri within an urban environment? asks Te Whanganui-a-Tara based artist Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka in the Courtenay Place light box exhibition for Matariki 2022.


Whakapapa Te Pō Te Ao turns the light boxes into a series of digitally woven pou whenua which are derived from the natural phenomena of Te Aro and the local environment.


“Acknowledging the whenua and the awa above and below the city streets. Working with the knowledge of the histories of the land, and walking back through time with each foot fall on the cement.

Past, present and future are here coexisting within the whenua, our tupuna are the soil and the water. They hold our collective memory, the good and the bad, the light and the dark. Our karakia, our voices, our sounds speak to them on a daily basis. We are alive because of them, by acknowledging this truth we enhance the mauri and we build our relationships with the natural world even within an urban environment.”


The exhibition responds to Matariki as a time to recount the past seasons and set new plans for the coming year. Guided by the Maramataka, Māori lunar calendar, Ruka filmed the area surrounding the light boxes once a month during 2021.


The focus of the film work was to capture the natural elements as they are now.


How do we experience the three major awa river sources that are below the city streets?

How do we access them?

Once an abundant source of kai now flowing below the city streets within cement pipes.

Do we look to the light through the trees that still remain on the site, their root systems in constant communication with the awa below.

Is it the exposed soil, site of Te Aro Pā down within the middens?

If you look closely you will see a pipi shell in some of the digital weavings.


Can we follow the awa above ground?

Waitangi / Kūmutoto //  and Waimapihi /// acknowledging their existence as we walk to the outlets where they silently meet the sea.


Ruka’s video footage has been translated into digital weavings for the light boxes with one side of the light box images referencing Te Whakapapa o Te Pō and the other, Te Whakapapa o Te Ao.

Together, the whakapapa of light and dark capture a story of time unfolding in Courtenay Place from a kaupapa Māori perspective.


The colour sequence of the digital weavings is based on the rainbow, the colour of light, referencing Te Ao Marama our world of life and acknowledging the rainbow’s meaning of importance to the people and community of Te Aro.


In honouring our past we strengthen our future.. 


Manāki whenua / Manāki tangata //  Haere whakamua ///

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An A2 size fine art print of  Te Aoruru! 
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Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka is a Māori Indigenous artist and designer living in Te Whānganui-a-Tara, Aotearoa. She is of Ngati Pakau, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Mahurehure Ngapuhi, and Waitaha Hokianga descent. She has a Master of Art and Design from AUT, and works as an independent indigenous researcher on projects that seek to elevate indigenous knowledge systems and voices within the environment. She is connecting with Indigenous nations globally through her work as research communications lead with Native Land Digital.  


Tanya is inspired by her ancestry, and the creation stories that place the land as tupuna ancestor. Her art practice works with Mātauranga Māori (ancestral knowledge and navigational tools) to design pathways of transitional Indigenous Futures and Indigenous Speculative Design. Working in the digital realm creating immersive film, video, sound installations, abstract narratives building connection to landscape and the natural world. Acknowledging the understanding of the Atua (the elemental gods) that are present within everyday routines even within the urban environment. In order to firmly place indigenous concepts, knowledge, perspectives and ways of being in the landless territories of new imagined futures. To speak to this kōrero in a practical way she is currently working with dedicated indigenous and non-indigenous textile researchers, academics, scientists, engineers, growers and local Iwi (tribes). Documenting the journey to develop circular designed, native plant fibre materials and textiles that will help to connect people back to the land through indigenous ways of knowing. This research has led to the concept design for a Community Rongoā (Māori native plant medicine) Forest initiative weaving together matauranga Māori knowledge with integrated app based technology and currently being established in Brooklyn.