Natalie Robertson

Buried house — Barton’s Gully (Mangarārā stream flowing into Waiorongomai river)

Buried house — Barton’s Gully (Mangarārā stream flowing into Waiorongomai river) by Natalie Robertson

Artwork Detail

Natalie Robertson sought to solidify her connection to her Ngati Porou Iwi and contribute towards the Waiapu Kōkā Hūhua, a one-hundred-year plan for the revitalisation of the Waiapu Kōkā Hūhua river in partnership between Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou iwi and hapū the Gisborne District Council and Ministry of Primary Industries. Robertson’s hapu Te Whanau-a-Pokai of Tīkapa Marae are located on the Waipu River, north of Ruatoria.

A distinctive eastern Tairāwhiti language of light became known to Robertson, where her tupuna, Porourangi was born in what is described as the crimson, red-tipped dawn. The significance and potential in considering such a cultural narrative around light, encapsulated her as an artist working in photography and thoroughly thought through in cultural and photographic terms. The commitment required of Robertson to produce her triptych was significant.

The sun rises directly through the Waiapu river mouth to touch the summit of Hikurangi unimpeded by hills only twice a year, in May and late July to early August. Robertson’s 2018 observation secures the image for her and her people a visual account of the whenua landscape. The 5”x4” 1953 Linhof Technika sheet film used will secure this image well into the next century, securing a visual account of the whenua surrounding her hapu was a foundational motivator for Robertson when entering the Waiapu Kōkā Hūhua project, as it plans one hundred years in to the future.

Buried house — Barton’s Gully (Mangarārā stream flowing into Waiorongomai river)
Natalie Robertson
Production date
C-type photographic print on Fujiflex Crystal Archive
667 x 1000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2023
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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