Previous Exhibitions

September 2019 - Ngā Māhuri o te Waoku - Generation Reo Slayers - Tanu Aumua

For the month of September 2019, ZIMMERMAN is featuring Ngā Māhuri o te Waoku, a new series of work by Palmerston North artist Tanu Aumua.




Ngā Māhuri o te Waoku - Generation Reo Slayers

Artist Statement

Matapoporetia te rau huia kai mua tonu i te aroaro. Tēnā ko te ōkākā me te ō manapou ērā ko tukuna iho e ō tātou kōhika mā. Nāia he whaitua o te waoku raima kia matapaki, kia wānanga ngā tameme mō tō tātou reo taketake. Mā ngā kākā tarahae o Te Aho Matua te ō e kawe ki te pae mamao.

While recent reports indicate an increased interest in te reo Māori language courses across the country, very few choose Te Aho Matua (Māori language medium schools) as an educational pathway for their children. Speaking te reo Māori is a lifestyle, and Te Aho Matua is a specific choice to maintain language excellence within a family.

If language excellence is to survive and adapt, how do we create a safe environment for it to flourish within its current climate? How do we make it vogue for the current “Generation Reo Slayers”?

The objective of the work in this exhibition is to provide a platform for engaging discussion on the merits of language revitalisation in the 21st century, and the importance of Te Aho Matua as a framework for elevating te reo Māori.

The gold leaf symbols denote the various historical events that have had major implications on the well-being of the language and still exist in our society today. The Victorian-style frames allude to Western constructs, and the struggle to work within the system to create positive change. The rendering of realistic scenery between layers of resin offers an insight for viewers into a Māori paradigm, where metaphoric references are inspired by nature. 

All works are acrylic paint, resin and 24 carat gold leaf in custom made frames with convex glass, 362mm high x 285mm wide.

First exhibited earlier this year at Upper Hutt’s public art gallery, Expressions Whirinaki, this exhibition is proudly supported by Creative New Zealand. 

Brief Artist Bio

Tanu Aumua holds a Master of Māori Visual Arts from Massey University.

In 2003, Tanu was offered opportunity to refine his craft and passion for teaching at Hato Pāora College in Fielding. After the birth of his first child, Tanu took up a teaching position closer to home at Manukura in Palmerston North, where he remains teaching today. His three children are all enrolled at Mana Tamariki, a unique community dedicated to te reo Māori.