Inside the Whare Iri-Te-Kura there’s a perspex box on a central pou that contains a New Zealand Film and Television award that was given to the film “Ngāti” in 1988. It’s an odd coalescence when the virtual is returned to the real in order to acknowledge the role it played in its conception. Filming for “Ngāti” took place in and around Waipiro Bay using significant sites from the area as its base. The films narrative developed to offer a way of tying together the discourse of urban drift and its pressures on communities. I get a sense that the intent was to develop a somewhat idealized space, a purely virtual space at that, which would operate to anchor Maori. By talking of a time when Maori were in the process of contending with the implications of moving away from rural lifestyles and subsistence economies that existed on the peripheries of nation to become more central within the functionality of a capitalist economy. In order to be accessible the film employed a narrative strategy of using non-descript Iwi and place names to avoid the alienation of a broad spectrum of Maori. The names Ngāti and Kapua for the township are generic cues that are able – through a lack of specificity – to create a community interior, an amalgam that could conceivably be transposed across any rural setting. Kapua translates to cloud and is an apt metaphor given that the location doesn’t exist, its abstracted past any tangible point of entry, you can’t arrive there by bus, live there, help out the drovers or marry a local. So “Ngāti” never quite becomes a lesson in how to achieve the sustained economic independence as was realized in the film. The film in that sense remains a cloud yet it is built around social structures that have proven to be perennial such as Tangi and Marae. While Kapua has a timeless quality it is more like that of a Maori Brigadoon that appears only once in every thousand video rentals, whereas Iri-Te-Kura remains a formal constant.
Kei mate mangōpare. (2012)
“…Rangituhia Hollis’ work Kia mate mangōpare broaches the psychology of prejudice by creating a haunting virtual reality. From the summit of Māngere Mountain, Hollis animates spectre-like mangōpare (hammerhead sharks) to swim through the sky as if encircling prey. To Hollis’ iwi, Ngāti Porou, the mangōpare are symbols of strength and resilience – even in death, the shark is known to thrash and fight. In bringing together the tangible and intangible, Hollis also creates a liminal space where linear notions of time are collapsed so that the history and ongoing impact of colonisation are brought together in a context where decolonisation might occur. A space that recognises that the past is the formidable road to the future.”
Bruce E. Phillips
O.P.P (Other People’s Property). (2014)
Oho Ake. (2015)
“The exhibition’s largest tour de force is on three large screens: 14m in all on the wall of the main room of the gallery. It is an animation work by Rangituhia Hollis and combines the driving force of rapidly moving images with a pulsing electronic sound track. The loop, which runs for more than 10 minutes, was done with a team of assistants and in partnership with Manurewa High School.
It is divided into five acts. In the first, the stylised image of a Ford Cortina blazes through the night with the images dominated by the sharp beams of headlights. In the second, the lights have been transformed into loops and made homely in interiors as well as expressionist situations. They are intercut with shots of dim landscape thorough the windows of a speeding car.
The third act is what may be the destination of the car, a rural weatherboard house intercut with a vision of traditional Maori weaponry including an horrific later piece made from a crosscut saw blade. The fourth scene shifts to tall apartment buildings with a curious dark shape made from the weaponry hovering like a drone over the slabs of balconied boxes. The work culminates in three screens of dense red and blue in fields of colour that recall the late paintings of Mark Rothko. In the middle screen, dimly seen, is a pulsating heart.”
TJ Mcnamara, NZ Herald.
Glass House. (2019)
Group exhibition by: Rangituhia Hollis, Jeremy Leatinu’u, Nathan Suniula, Salome Tanuvasa
Borrowing a name from gardening structures, the four artists in Glass House develop tender new works through korero, in a supportive, insulated climate.
The exhibition is then, a metaphorical space to cultivate ideas at the time of the Māori New Year, when sunshine hours are short. They create work using a process from ‘seed, to feed’.
Photpgraphs courtesy of Raymond Sagapolutele: www.raymondsagapolutele.com
Ia ra, ia ra. (2019)
Rangituhia Hollis & Jeremy Leatinu’u. Digital Animation. Nathan Homestead, Manurewa.