Robyn Kahukiwa

Taranga

Taranga by Robyn Kahukiwa

Artwork Detail

Kei te tū māia te whaea o Māui a Taranga, i mua i te peita, ko ia te kaitiaki o te oranga o te tangata, o te moana. Kei te kārangaranga te peita nei ki te āhua o te poutokomanawa; ko tāna tū rangatira he whakaatu i tōna mana i roto i ngā whakapapa Māori. He pōhēhē nōna kua mate ā-kahu tāna tamaiti, ka kokotihia e Taranga tōna tikitiki hei tākainga mōna, ka panaia atu ki te moana. Ka pakeke a Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga, ka whakakotahitia rātou ko tōna whaea, ko ōna tuākana tokowhā. I te atapō, whāia ai tōna whaea e ia i tētahi o ōna hekenga iho ki Rarohenga; ka pērātia nā te huringa hei kererū, ko ngā tae o ōna raukura e rite tonu ana ki ngā tae o te kākahu me te whītiki o Taranga.

He waitohu i te moana, ko tā te tauira tāniko kōpekapeka he whakamārama atu i te moana hei pūtahi o te tauoranga o Māui, i tōna kūaotanga, i tōna hīnga ake i Te Ika-a-Māui, hoki. He wāhanga nō te raupapatanga whakaaweawe o Robyn Kahukiwa, a Wāhine Toa, 1982, ko tā tēnei peita tino kueo, peita e ngoto ai te tūturu, peita tāraro, he whakaatu i te kōrero mō Taranga, he whakaū, he whakanui i tōna mana wahine i roto i ngā kōrero a te Māori.

Taranga, the mother of Māui, stands stridently at the front of the picture plane as the gatekeeper to human life and moana (oceans). Based on a poutokomanawa, the heart post of a wharenui, her stance firmly asserts her significance in Māori genealogies. Thinking that her son was stillborn, Taranga cut off her tikitiki (topknot), placed him on a mat of her hair and cast him adrift on the sea. On reaching adulthood Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga (Māui of Taranga’s Topknot) is reunited with his mother and four older brothers, and follows his mother on her daily dawn descent into Rarohenga (the underworld) by transforming into a kererū, the plumes of which mirror the colours of Taranga’s skirt and belt.

Symbolising the ocean, the zig-zag tāniko pattern communicates the centrality of the sea in Māui’s life, both as a baby and his eventual fishing up of Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island). Part of Robyn Kahukiwa’s seminal Wāhine Toa series, this painting’s highly saturated, hyper-real and decorative depiction of Taranga’s narrative reinstates and celebrates her mana wahine (female authority) in Māori cultural narratives.

Title
Taranga
Artist/creator
Production date
1982
Medium
oil on hardboard
Dimensions
1310 x 1310 mm
Credit line
collection of The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, purchased 1983. with New Zealand Lottery Board funds.
Accession no
X2020/93/3
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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