NOSTALGIA_ULTRA INFORMATION PANELS
"We let the research create its own life. We never went into it with a preconceived idea on what the final work will look like. We just had to be smart and heart enough to connect research (the past) to the concept (the present) to create work (the future)."
IN THE GAME OF THE FIGHTER, THE PLAYER 1 & THE POLY SPIRIT (2019)
A hybrid of the Street Fighter 2 player selection screen and classic sci-fi film The Matrix (1999). In The Game... grayscales the Pacific nations within the Realm of New Zealand, while colorizing the nations that have regained their independence from the New Zealand administration.
Influenced by the religious velveteen wall hangings that were (and still are) ubiquitous in the lounges of Polynesian homes. An interpretation of the classic Matrix scene when Morpheus gives Neo the ultimatum between the known and the unknown. A reminder that our Māori & Polynesian ancestors had our own Gods and beliefs prior to colonization and Christianity. Were we obedient to the ten commandments tablets or is it a pill too hard to swallow?
Directly from: protectihumatao.com
"In 2014 Auckland City, using the Special Housing Areas Act, designated 32 hectares adjacent to the Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve as a special housing area. This land, known as Puketāpapa, was confiscated ‘by proclamation’ under the New Zealand Settlements Act in 1863 as part of the colonial invasion of the Waikato that drove mana whenua of South Auckland from their lands ahead of the settler armies. These Crown actions breached the partnership agreement forged in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. The former Manukau City Council sought to ensure that it would become part of OSHR but its strenuous efforts to purchase Puketāpapa were thwarted by the landowner whose antecedents had obtained it by Crown grant in 1867. The boundary lines between the OSHR and SHA62 are simply the 1866 surveyor's carve up of the confiscation that dissects a rich, storied, and culturally and heritage-wise continuous landscape. The land is now owned by Fletcher Residential Limited, which intends to build a low-density subdivision with 480 high-price dwellings on this heritage landscape"
In 2020, progress has been made but is still yet to be resolved.
Visiting Ihumātao a few months prior to the eviction of the kaitiaki (protectors) left a lasting impression. From the immediate embrace by the kaitiaki to the historical journey around the whenua explaining its spiritual significance to Māori and Aotearoa - guided by Pania Newton of Save Our Unique Landscape (S.O.U.L.).
Kei Te Payhea Koe? however, was triggered by the signage inside the whare at Kaitiaki village. Walls plastered with information about banks and financial institutions feeding off the desecration of indigenous lands. Furthermore, Heritage New Zealand predominantly protects colonial buildings, which accounts for 80% of its heritage listings. In contrast, only 10% of wahi tapu (sacred land) or sites of significance to Māori is protected.
A modified rendering of Mortal Kombat's infamous 'Fatality' ending move, Kei Te Payhea Koe? questions the destruction of Māori lands and history - if we continue to value money over mana.
Bespoke for its 'Southside' Ōtara location, Lava (Samoan translation for enough) draws its influence from the opposite side of town - Queen Street in Auckland City. A high street shopping district synonymous with wealth and luxury. Various store window displays located on Queen Street, are carefully constructed to frame one of their handmade leather goods. Lava juxtaposes their window display with carelessly spray painted cages framing their machine-made cardboard box.
The installation is influenced by the diagram of an echo -utilizing the wall, the narrow space and the windows. An echo bounces off a wall and is then reflected and repeated back. The 'echo' in this instance are the negative stereotypes associated with South Auckland, and questions how the constant repetition of these labels pigeon-hole people and their potential.
Bonus Stage is a segment in Street Fighter where the player fights and destroy barrels, oil drums and vehicles. Lava however is a 'Bogus Stage' to fight and destroy a box, whilst using the windows to immerse visitors in the game screen. Would you rather 'grab a box' or get out of one?
A stylized 'ie toga (fine mat). 'Ie toga is an indigenous symbol of Samoan family wealth and are gifted at either celebrations or funerals. The fine mat's woven blocks are tangible versions of the digital pixels in the graphic style of Street Fighter. This contemporary approach of an 'ie toga lowlights Samoa's darkest day - Black Saturday.
The Mau was a peaceful movement for Samoan independence and release from colonial administration. Formed in the late 1920s and led by Tupua Tamasese Leolofi III, their uniform consisted of a purple lavalava with a white stripe.
On December 28th 1929, during a parade welcoming the return of two Mau members who had been exiled, New Zealand military police opened fire on the crowd. Consequently, 11 Samoans were fatally shot including Mau leader Tupua Tamasese Leolofi III. However, his death was not in vein as Samoa gained independence in 1962. His son Tupua Tamasese Maeole became the joint head of state with Malietoa Tanumafili II. The emergence of a flag shredding away from Mauvement is a dedication to the nation living out the Mau's slogan of 'Samoa mo Samoa' (Samoa for Samoans).
PNEU ZEALAND (2019)
An illustration stylized after Tekken 2, Pneu Zealand references the iconic film Titanic (1997) to interpret the pneumonic influenza which killed 8500 Samoans.
On November 7th 1918, Talune was a New Zealand steam ship permitted to dock in Samoa, despite carrying passengers that were infected with the disease. The deceased Samoans were unable to be farewelled with traditional funerals, instead they were wrapped in mats and collected by trucks to be transported to mass burial graves.
The iceberg is personified as Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Logan. His cold refusal to quarantine Talune and reject medical aid, led to the sinking of 22% of the Samoan population.
A United Nations report declared the tragedy as 'one of the most disastrous epidemics recorded anywhere in the world during the present century, so far as the proportion of the deaths to the population is concerned'.
In the 1950s/1960s, New Zealand faced a labour shortage and were eager for the assistance of Polynesian immigrants to alleviate this problem. Ponsonby, Freemans Bay & Grey Lynn became the homes for many Māori & Polynesians up until the 1970s. Many were displaced as a result of the 'dawn raids' and gentrification - targeting the same people they needed.
Churches became a central point and safe haven for Polynesian communities when migrating to New Zealand, where the suburb Newton became the home for New Zealand's first Pacific Islanders' Congregational Church (PICC).
Ponsinby is influenced by stained glass windows, the integration of the ground in John Radford's sculptures (installed at Western Park on Ponsonby Road), and the overlaying drip effect used on Mortal Kombat's infamous 'Fatality' style of typography.
A stylized interpretation of the classic Mortal Kombat 'Finish Him!'command, Ponsinby confesses the history of the areas in central Auckland. Casting stones of accusations and unwarranted blame instead of loving thy neighbour. Banishing people deemed sinful to the nation’s economic downturn and selecting to value plastic over people.
Influenced by Mortal Kombat, Polynesian Airlines and airport departure boards. Prints switch from PSB Ponsonby (dusk) to CSB Consonby (dawn) as visitors walk by to reveal the cons of history at Postcode 1011.
Ding. Dong. 'Dawn raids' saw the detainment and deportation of Polynesians in the 1970s, despite a majority of immigrants hailing from Australia & the United Kingdom.
Polynesians were specifically targeted by police when out in public and demanded to provide evidence of residency on the spot. 'Cool story, bro' is our response to anyone trying to catch a cancelled flight in justifying it.
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt" - Exodus 3:2-3
RAIDY OR NOT? (2018-2019)
Referencing the iconic 'Bonus Stage' in Street Fighter, the player's objective is to destroy a provided vehicle. The provided vehicle in Raidy Or Not? is a police car from the 1970s.
The closet; a place for New Zealand to hide its white collar crime of the 'Dawn Raids', and the initial hiding spot for Polynesians when being blinded by bright beams and boys in blue seeking their bedrooms.
The dawn raids saw police violate homes in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn - seeking suspected Polynesian 'overstayers'. They were detained and deported despite a majority of immigrants being from Australia and the United Kingdom. Consequently, this incited fear within the Polynesian community as they were in the crosshairs and demanded to supply evidence of residency while out in public.
When New Zealand faced a labour shortage in the 1950s/1960s, they were eager for Polynesian immigrants to alleviate this problem. When New Zealand faced an economic downturn, the same people they used to solve the problem, were suddenly blamed to be the problem.
Glitched tukutuku-inspired numbers display a technological adaptation of the 'countdown' on Street Fighter. When a character loses a fight, the player is asked to continue - accompanied by a countdown. Unfortunately, down was also the direction the Māori language headed in the early 1860s, following the migration of British settlers in Aotearoa.
Te Reo is a key component of Māori identity and culture, yet the Pākehā neglected to understand or respect its significance. This resulted in the rejection of conversing in Māori as it was deemed inapplicable in a Pākehā dominated landscape.
Māori children were expected to conform to the Western lifestyle by prohibiting Te Reo from being spoken within school grounds. Disobeying this rule often resulted in physical punishment and verbal humiliation. This was then reinforced by Maori parents in the 1920s as 'kōrero Pākehā' (speak English) was equated to survival and success.
The mission to revive the Māori language emerged with the introduction of Māori language week in 1975. Continuing into the 1980s, Te Reo was considered a taonga (treasure) to be protected under the Treaty of Waitangi. Though in order to remain safe for future generations, Māori require the assistance from the general New Zealand population to learn and speak Te Reo.
9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Never reaches zero because the battle isn't done.
TRICK OR TREATY (2019-2020)
(Animation not uploaded)
TREATY OF WAITANGI
'Test Your Might' debuted in the original Mortal Kombat as a gaming segment testing the strength of the character. A meter is highlighted adjacent to the player, indicating the threshold of expected progress and strength. The Crown seemed to have exceeded its expected progress and strength also.
Considered New Zealand's founding document, signed on February 6th 1840 in Waitangi. The treaty was written in both Māori and English however, the Māori translation was a misinterpretation of the English version.
Liutenant-Governor William Hobson drafted the treaty in a matter of days. Hobson was focused on persuading the Māori Chiefs about the advantages of having a treaty, which detracted from the ramifications it would have on their chieftainship. Division is created by the opposing views on the definition of the term ‘sovereignty’. In the Crown’s eyes this meant it had full control over the country and purchasing rights to land.
Sovereignty is substituted for kawanataga meaning governance in the Māori version, as there was no direct translation in Te Reo. Māori Chiefs were under the impression they would maintain authority over their lands in exchange for protection. All Māori were under British rule despite not mutually agreeing to sign the treaty. Māori viewed the treaty as a partnership, the Crown viewed the treaty as ownership.
ORIGINS OF CONFLICT:
Land became a commodity in Taranaki during the initial years of Pākehā settlement. However, a majority of Māori were against land being sold. This resulted in violent battles in over land issues, inciting fear within among the Pakeha. Consequently, British soldiers were sent to New Zealand.
Division and disagreements among Māori increased when Pekapeka block in Waitara was under negotiations for sale. The governments threats never worked on the opposed Māori and this resulted in the occupation of the block by the army.
1860 became the first stage of the Taranaki Wars, segmented into four key phases.
The First War, 1860-61
New Plymouth and Waitara were the main fighting backdrops between the British & Māori in the first war. The British would attack any signs of Māori retaliation or threat.
However, the cold from surviving the winter and the cold of settlement seclusion, were key factors in calling a truce in March of 1861. Fire may of been ceased but, the issues remained frozen.
The Second War, 1863-66
The Pai Mārire religion (also known as Hauhau) emerged when the Crown reoccupied the Tātaraimaka block in New Plymouth. Pai Mārire was a combination of Old Testament beliefs and Māori priestcraft. Wars were often between government forces and Pai Mārire believers. Founded by Te Ua Haumēne, he was arrested and passed shortly after.
The New Zealand Settlements Act 1863 permitted the confiscation of land from so-called 'rebels'. Land included under the act was accessible and exclusive to Pākehā with no exceptions for any law-abiding Māori.
Majority of the western section (equating to 2 million acres) of the North Island, had been confiscated.
The Third War, 1868-69
A forceful response and retaliation against the constant confiscation of land by settlers. Also referred to as Tītokowaru's War (after the leader Riwha Tītokowaru) known for his guerrilla approach and generating fear among Pākehā.
However, several defeats in 1868 resulted in the loss of Māori support for Tītokowaru. Pākehā won after ten years of battle rounds.
Mortal Kombat II featured an ending move known as 'Friendship'
a response to the backlash received about 'Fatality' (a gruesome and deadly ending move) in the original Mortal Kombat. Friendship was the performance of affection and the exchange of a gift with the opponent, instead of the typical act of harm in order to win the round.
This aligns with the non-violent resistance Māori showed when on November 5th 1881, 1600 government troops stormed and aimed to seize Parihaka. They responded to the invasion by growing crops, sowing seeds, fencing and ploughing across Taranaki to maintain Māori land ownership. This campaign was led by Te-Whiti-o-Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi. It was a literal approach of the religious belief that peace would emerge when people “beat their swords into ploughshares”. The government were non-believers as they retaliated by imprisoning hundreds of ploughmen without trial.
Upon the arrival of troops, thousands of Māori sat peacefully on the marae with their children singing waiata. The children greeted the troops with raukura (white feathers) which have become synonymous with Parihaka's peaceful protest. The invasion of Parihaka is considered the fourth phase of the Taranaki wars that took place between 1860-1881.