This was a series of lectures given by Professor Jonathan Mane Wheoki in the Albert Moore Memorial Lectures.

The first lecture was on art and architecture in the Anglican Church in New Zealand.  Professor Wheoki is an Anglican and could speak about its architecture as an insider.  The Anglican Church arrived in New Zealand at the time it was becoming more ceremonial in its practice of worship.  Anglican translators were responsible for the Treaty of Waitangi.  Its language can be called ‘Missionary Maori’.

The book on church planting among Maori has yet to be written.

The image, The Light of the World by Holman Hunt, toured New Zealand in 1906.  Any image of it in New Zealand Churches, inspiring stained glass windows based in its image, can be dated to this time.  It was probably not this time that Albert Moore saw it.  According to his autobiography he was aware of it as a Bible Class Student and viewed it in the Keble College Chapel when he was studying in Britain in the 1950s.

Early Maori Anglican churches appear on the exterior to be colonial Gothic churches.  Their interiors are ornate.  Although the missionaries forbade the iconography of ancestral images, regarding them as obscene.  It is possible to consider the inclusion of pre-Christian ancestors in religious space as a challenge to the one god the missionaries of whom the missionaries demanded exclusive worship.

It is possible that the Otakou church on the Otago peninsula with its exterior patterned on casts of Ngati Porou design (not the local iwi, but with originals that could be obtained from the Otago Museum) and its Arts and Crafts workmanship was among the first churches with a Maori exterior and marks a transition in architecture.

The Kaik

The new prayerbook of the Anglican church united the Church of England in New Zealand with the Haahi Mihinare.  Together with the Polynesian strand of New Zealand Anglicanism they became the three tikanga, or streams, of the Anglican church in New Zealand.

The second lecture was more about art and painting in the Maori Catholic tradition in New Zealand than about its architecture.   The architecture of Catholic churches lacked the same Maori ornamentation.  It has made use of an architecture that allowed in a mystical light into its space for worship.

The first Madonna and Child done in New Zealand by Patoromu (Bartholemew) Tamatea.  The madonna is adorned with a full facial moko to show that she is set apart and not touched by a man.  The Christ child is represented as a Tiki, the first man.  The image was not received by the Catholic missionaries.  It was received by Pope John Paul II when he visited New Zealand at the end of the twentieth century.  I wonder what a contemporary representation of the Madonna would look like if it included this influence.

The lecture moved from Bishop Pompellier to Ralph Hotere.  Hotere was a Northland Maori who came to Dunedin and made it the base of work and his art.  Hokianga was his whenua and it was there that his body was returned to be his burial place.  Dunedin was the inspiration of his work.

A Fall of Rain at Mitimiti: Hokianga
Drifting on the wind, and through
the broken window of the long house
where you lie, incantatory chant
of surf breaking, and the Mass
and the mountain talking.

At your feet two candles puff the
stained faces of the whanau, the vigil
of the bright madonna. See, sand-whipped
the toy church does not flinch.

E moe, e te whaea: wahine rangimarie

Mountain, why do you loom over us like
that, hands on massive hips? Simply
by hooking your fingers to the sea,
rain-squalls swoop like a hawk, suddenly.
Illuminated speeches darken, fade to metallic
drum-taps on the roof.

Anei nga roimata o Rangipapa.

Flat, incomprehensible faces: lips moving
only to oratorical rhythms of the rain:

quiet please, I can’t hear the words.
And the rain steadying: black sky leaning
against the long house. Sand, wind-sifted
eddying lazily across the beach.

And to a dark song lulling: e te whaea, sleep.

Hone Tuwhare, 1974

The third lecture was on Regret and Resistance, the Maori response.  The chiefs of the tribes marked the Treaty of Waitangi with a cross beside their names, a sign of assent.  The substance of the land belonged to them, now the shadow of the land belongs to the first-comers.  There is a lot to be restored before there can be good faith between the people of the land and the churches again.  It is a long walk back.

The millennial movements took to flags Pakeha brought with them.  The Maori word is te haki, the Jack, as in Union Jack.  The flag engages the wind, it is an intermediary between us and the god of the wind.  Te Kooti’s flag, te Wepu, the whip, ended up in Auckland Museum where it was used as dusters!  As an archivist I feel the outrage!

Maori art has moved from nostalgia to political engagement.  We stand in the river of time looking downstream on the past; the future is coming up from behind us.

The Crucified Tekoteko by Darcy Nicholas

The tekoteko is the carved figure at the top of the meeting house.  The lightning rod, so to speak.  Christianity has crucified the indigenous image, and by the looks of things, bloodied it.  Still, look closely, the ancestors are still in the land.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Advertisements