Te Tukumate – The Pathogen
Te Tukumate - The Pathogen for Te Taiao Whakatairanga, a cross-disciplinary research project bringing together arts, science and te ao Māori to raise awareness of threats to the health of our ngāhere, specifically among people and communities affected by, or at risk of being affected by kauri dieback and myrtle rust.
My work reflects on man’s role in catalysing ecological threats to biodiversity such as phytophthora agathidicida. It suggests that collectively we have yet to fully grasp the consequences of the current neo-liberal, hyper-materialistic socio-economic paradigm of mindless consumption and disregard of natural life systems.
The work draws parallels between human and pathogenic behaviour and questions persistent base assumptions around human agency and extractive ideology in interactions with the rest of the natural world cosmos.
The video incorporates one of my whākairo works 'Ngā Whētai o ngā Tūpuna' in reference to our accountability to our ancestors and descendants.
Mauri Tū Mauri Ora
A short documentary film created by Dan Nathan in collaboration with Kelly Kahukiwa.
Hokia te waoku kia purea ai – Return to the forest and be restored.
“A passionate indigenous artist strives to re-awaken a deeper conversation with the natural world. Māori musician Kelly Kahukiwa is on a mission to re-vitalise 'Taonga Pūoro' traditional Māori instruments, raise awareness of threats to forest health, and foster enduring, inter-generational connections with 'Te Taiao' (natural world environments) in the Whangārei area of Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa (Northland, New Zealand). His approach is informed by mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge systems) and a deep affinity for the unique indigenous flora and fauna of Aotearoa (New Zealand).”
The concept for this film evolved over a couple of years via conversations between close friends Kelly and Dan.
They had been exploring ideas for a project based around mātauranga Māori, plant intelligence, and the reinvigoration of a rhythmic language inside of taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments) traditions. In 2019 Dan and Kelly attended a symposium about kauri health in Waipoua Forest (Dan’s papakāinga / homeland), home of the last remaining giant kauri trees, hosted by mana whenua Te Roroa and The Kauri Project. Also attending were the academics and ‘artivists’ who would eventually form the Toi Taiao Whakatairanga initiative; a cross-disciplinary research project, bringing together arts, science and te āo Māori to raise awareness of threats to the health of our ngahere/forests.
Toi Taiao Whakatairanga approached Dan to be a contributing artist (www.tupufilms.com). Kelly was also asked to develop a project which led to a series of wānanga. Dan was asked to film the project and create a film to document these wānanga – an opportunity to incorporate some of the ideas previously discussed into a single project.
Kelly and Dan are Māori and the themes explored in this film are very close to their hearts. “I personally wanted to bring to the screen my strong conviction that ecological issues such as the ones discussed in the film are always a result of ‘broken thinking’ and ‘wrong action’ on the part of humans. The prevailing ‘extractive’ and ‘unconscious’ mindset of modern life is at the root of these problems.” Dan Nathan
For Dan and Kelly, this film represents a convergence of important themes; mātauranga Māori, sound and music, environmental and social justice, and the exploration of indigenous creativity in new mediums.