As part of the Pacific Collection Access Project, Auckland Museum and artist Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie co-curated a display. The display text was in both English and the Cook Islands language. The text was translated by Reverend William Hakaoro. Read about the objects and artwork on display below.
Ko teia tutu kua atuia no te akaariarianga Pirianga Toto ko tei akaruru mai i tetai au taunga Kuki Airani i te putuputuanga i raveia ki Otara i te mataiti 2015. Ko te Marumaru Atua e vaka tei maaniia i te mataiti 2009 no te Taiate akateretere vaka o te Kuki Airani. Kua manuia au i te tikaanga ite aruanga i te vaka tei teretere na te Moana nui o Kiva ei turuanga i te tere moana 2012. E tikaanga teia i rauka iaku tei iti ua te au taeake i rauka te tikaanga.
This painting was created for the Pirianga Toto – Blood Ties exhibition, which brought together a group of Cook Island artists at Fresh Gallery, Ōtara, in 2015. Marumaru Atua is a traditional vaka built in 2009 for the Cook Islands Voyaging Society. I was lucky enough to sail across the Pacific on this vaka as a part of Te Mana o te Moana voyage in 2012. This allowed me to experience the Pacific as few people have been able to.
E vaka no Manihiki mai tei kore au i kite ana i mua ana i toku aere anga mai ki te Are vairanga apinga taito. E vaka puapinga teia ei akairo puapinga no te au tuatau ki muri te ka riro ei akamaara kia tatou i te puapinga ka rauka mai.
This model vaka from Manihiki has design elements that I had not seen before visiting the Auckland Museum recently. This vaka is an important talisman of the history that can be shared with the voyaging community, reminding us of how much more we have yet to learn.
Kare i maata roa te au tuatua no Tangaroa e tona turanga i roto i te au tuatua no te Kuki Airani, inara e mea inangaroia e te au tangata turoto ki te Kuki Airani. Kua kitea e au teia tiki ki roto i te toa o te Salvation Army e kua tarai akaou au i te mimiti i te mea kua taipa tona mata. Kua tatatau katoa au i te reira kia aite ki tetai Tangaroa e vai ra i te are vairanga apinga i Peritane. I rave au i teia kia akaoki mai i tona tu mana e te tu ngateitei tei kiteia e Atua no te moana.
Little is known today about Tangaroa and his significance in ancient Cook Islands society, but he has become a ‘mascot’ of sorts for the Cook Islands tourist industry. I found this carving in a Salvation Army store and re-carved his face as he was cross-eyed. I then applied tattoo designs to him based on images from the Tangaroa figure in the British Museum. I did this to in a sense reinstate some of his mana and afford Tangaroa the respect he was once shown as god of the sea.
Ko teia ei i akamouia mei tetai o te au ei i roto i te tuanga Moana nui o Kiva i te Are vairanga apinga taito i Akarana. Kua akaari mai teia nga ei i te puapinga maata o te au apinga i maani iaai. Ko te akairo o te puapinga e te mana i teia au apinga aka kitea ki te taanganga anga i te nio toora, rouru tangata e te moni a te Kuki Airani i iriia i te kite o teia tuatau. Te ui nei te ei me i akaariia te puapinga kite tu no te mana i kitea ia.
This rei is based on rei necklaces like the one displayed alongside, which is in the Auckland Museum’s Pacific Collection. Both show their value in the materials used to make them. The symbols of wealth and mana in the original include prestige materials such as whale ivory and human hair, which are contrasted with the use of Cook Island coins and plaited waxed cord in the contemporary piece. The rei asks the question, has mana been eclipsed by a monetary system?
Ko Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie, e taunga Kuki Airani (no Mangaia e Pamati) e Papaa katoa (Ingarani e Tekotia) tona tupu mai anga, anauia e kua maata i Canada e te noo nei i Aotearoa. Ko te akamaroiroi iaia no tana anganga mari ra na roto i tona irinaki ki te au peu taito e te au akairo, e pera te au tuatua tuatapapa no te teretere vaka o tona ui tupuna e te tatatauanga Kuki Airani nona. Ko teia au tuanga tei pangeia e te au akairo e vai nei i roto i te Are vairanga apinga taito e tana au akaivianga korero.
Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie is an artist of Cook Islands (Mangaia, Palmerston) and European (English, Scottish) descent, born and raised in Canada, and now living in Aotearoa. Numa draws inspiration for his work from ancient forms and motifs, and also by retracing the paths of his ancestors through voyaging on a vaka, and by receiving tātatau, Cook Islands tattoo. These particular works were influenced by treasures held in museum collections and are imbued with his own unique contemporary urban Polynesian narratives.
Cite this article
Mackenzie, Numangatini Fraser. Translated by William Hakaoro.
Artist: Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 24 November 2016. Updated: 25 November 2016.