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Mai i te kei o ngā waka ki te ihu o ngā waka: Jeremy Leatinu’u

Haerenga Pakeha 1 HERO web

Jeremy Leatinu’u, Mai i te kei o ngā waka ki te ihu o ngā waka, 2018 (still), three-channel digital video with audio, looped, 12:39 min. Courtesy of the artist.

9 September – 26 November 2023

Mai i te kei o ngā waka ki te ihu o ngā waka presents three haerenga (meaning journey, trip, parting) exploring contrasting yet interlinked stories of migration.

Leantinu’u’s body of work centres its three narratives on the land and suburb of Ōtāhuhu in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Bookended by the story of Tainui waka as spoken in te reo Māori and English, the first haerenga recalls the voyaging of Tainui iwi from Hawaiki to Aotearoa in the search for a new home. The second part of this work follows five centuries after the arrival of the Tainui waka, recounting the arrival of the Queens Army to Ōtāhuhu in the early 1860s. Their settlement in the area signalled preparations to invade Waikato. Finally, the third haerenga brings us to the present and focuses on the home of the artist’s parents. Scenes of home speak to a gathering place for successive generations of their extended whānau who immigrated to Aotearoa from Sāmoa.

The title of this work translates in English to “from the front of the canoes to the back of the canoes”, suggesting multiple viewpoints that comprise a collective journey. Leatinu’u is interested in these overlapping layers of experience and storytelling. Mai i te kei o ngā waka ki te ihu o ngā waka embodies the different ways in which collective identity and meaning is shaped through acts of retelling, and the many ways people adapt to make new homes and futures together.

Jeremy Leatinuʻu (Ngāti Maniapoto and Sāmoa) is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. He graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2008, then with a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts in 2009, both from the University of Auckland.

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