Huhana Smith

Te Rakau a Te Rangitāwhia- The Tree of Te Rangitāwhia

Te Rakau a Te Rangitāwhia- The Tree of Te Rangitāwhia by Huhana Smith

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Poipoia te kākano, kia puāwai.

He tohu nui te kākano, arā he uri whai pito mata. Ko ngā kākano whero kei roto i Te Rakau a Te Rangitāwhia – The Tree of Te Rangitāwhia he whakamaumaharatanga o te whakapapa – te honotanga o te tangata ki neherā – nāna te mahi nui ki te tārai, ki te whakatutuki i te mahi a te tangata ā ngā rā kei te heke mai.

Ko Heremia (Heremaia) Te Rangitāwhia te tohunga nōna te whare i Kuku, Horowhenua i hangaia ai e ngā tūpuna o Huhana Smith i te tau 1892. I te tau 1997, i hoki atu a Smith ki tōna tūrangawaewae, ā, mai i te tau 1998 ki 2008, ka noho ia ki reira, ka whakahouhia tēnei taonga a Te Rangitāwhia, te wāhi i whānau mai ai tōna māmā i te tau 1929. Ko Smith te kainoho 14 ā, i reira ka peitahia e ia tēnei ata – te tirohanga ki te rākau magnolia mai i te māhau.

Ko tā ngā toi peita a Smith he whakawhiti i ngā kōrero tuku iho ki te reo ataata. I runga i taua māhau, e titiro ana ki tēnei rākau, ka whāngaihia ia e ngā kōrero a ōna whaea. Ka noho tahi rātou ki te raranga i te kete mātauranga i noho ai hei whāriki mā ngā mahi kaupapa huhua i ngā tau 20 kua pahure ake, ka mutu he huanga mā te hapū, he hua mā te taiao.

Poipoia te kākano, kia puawai.

Nurture the seed and it will blossom.

Te kākano (the seed) is a potent symbol, one that can be interpreted as a descendant full of potential. The lineage of red seeds depicted in Te Rakau a Te Rangitāwhia – The Tree of Te Rangitāwhia can be read as reminder of whakapapa – one’s human connection to the past which has a powerful role in shaping and realising one’s role in the future.

Heremia (Heremaia) Te Rangitāwhia was the tohunga (cultural expert) whose house in Kuku, Horowhenua was built by Huhana Smith’s great-great grandparents around 1892. In 1997, Smith returned to her tūrangawaewae (homeland) and from 1998 to 2008, she lived in and restored this taonga (treasure) of Te Rangitāwhia, in which her mother was born in 1929. Smith’s presence in his house marked the fourteenth term of occupancy and she painted this image there – a view of the magnolia tree from the veranda.

Smith’s paintings translate kōrero tuku iho (ancestral knowledge passed down) into a visual language. Under the veranda, with a view of this tree, she was nurtured by the kōrero (discussion) of her aunties. Together they wove a kete (basket) of knowledge that has served as the foundation of Smith’s inter-disciplinary work over the last 20 years, which has benefitted of her hapū (subtribe) and the taiao (natural environment).

Title
Te Rakau a Te Rangitāwhia- The Tree of Te Rangitāwhia
Artist/creator
Production date
2003
Medium
oil on linen
Dimensions
1380 x 450 x 35 mm
Credit line
Private collection
Accession no
X2020/50
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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