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Featured gif image: Rangihīroa, He Uru Tōtara, Pōrirua bridge turnoff to Kapiti Expressway, SH1, 20 January 2021

He mahi whēuaua ‘The Hard Bit’

22 February 2021

People ask me what sort of camera do you use? Over the forty years that I have been photographing I have used a wide variety of cameras. But currently I find I am quite often using my i-phone…It’s a very democratic medium now. Most people have got cameras…in their smart phones. And the fluency with which they can share their images, the speed at which things are happening with photography…it’s easy to take the images. It’s never been so easy…It’s editing the work; this is the hard bit.

Peter Peryer (1941 -2018) in Shirley Horrocks’ documentary, ‘Peter Peryer: The Art of Seeing‘, 2018

Moe mai rā e te kai whaakaahua rongonui. Ngā whakawhetai ki a koe he tohunga o te māramatanga o te rā. Ko te mea nui kei roto i tou pikitia ko tou nui whakaharahara ki te whakaahuatia nga mea maori ki ngā mea ātanga.

I watched the above documentary on one of New Zealand’s leading photographers recently. Although I worked as a Curator with one of the larger collections of photography in Aotearoa and while I have collaborated with a number of photographers in my own exhibitions and more recently in several publications I regret never having met Peter Peryer. Our paths just didn’t cross and so it is strange having this person speak such sense from the screen but he himself has passed. I felt his comment about using i-phone affirming, hopeful and also wisely cautionary.

Most of my photography and my photography based design has been generated by an i phone 6 plus and more recently by the SE. I have found both, along with the Adobe suite, to be useful tools in constructing imagery for my Social Media platforms and for communicating ideas with my blogs and as extensions of my painting. There has always been a relationship or dialogue between painting and photography (dating back to the use of the camera obscura by Johannes Vermeer and later by landscape artists like Canaletto) in the arts. The conversation continues, we are all consciously or unconsciously affected by it.

My interest in landscape, the natural environment and ecology is partly practical. I grow New Zealand natives and I photograph their various properties, their provenance. I regularly ruminate over their cultural meaning as it relates to Aotearoa and our tribal histories but sometimes I look further afield to Asia Pacific. I have an ongoing interest in islands of natives and the way that indigenous plants and trees are coping in alien environments, particularly the urban, outside their natural point of origin. How might we consider the persona of Tāne today in these redefined collections of disparate bush and broken forest in our parks, highway plantings, suburban back yards and strips of ngahere? Whether native or exotic their personalities change with the seasons. Picked roses, hibiscus, gardenias, bananas, limes, avacados, birds of paradise flowers, succulents, ferns, gourds, freesias and so on…in various guises regularly feature.

I also use digital imagery to investigate te reo Māori ‘native NZ language’, wāhi tapū and wānanga. The work (sometimes photography or photo based art) is then deliberately explorative as it probes tribal history, indigenous values and semantics. Regarding Peryer’s caution about editing: this is not a curated range of images, there is no chronology or specific reason that I have picked out these images other than formal considerations. They seem partly representative of a range of work I’ve produced. Nā reira, ka huri au ki ngā kōrero a ngā tūpuna, he whakataukī: Nau te rourou, naaku te rourou, ka ki te kete.

See also my imagery on the following TWO Adobe Portfolio platforms (push on the link):

TE ROHE O TANGAROA (Adobe Portfolio platform I)
dealing with our beautiful Aotearoa coastline

Ākautangi, ‘the crying of the seashore’ Moa Point Rd, Lyall Bay, near Wellington airport, Pōneke, January 2020

TE ROHE O TĀNE (Adobe Portfolio platform II)

dealing with our beautiful Aotearoa forests in both their natural and their displaced contexts

rangihīroa, Kua motumotu a Tāne, mamaku & concrete, St Lukes carpark, Ōwairaka 4 April 2018

rangihīroa, In 1896 the Crown divided our tribal maunga Whatitiri into 15 farms which were sold largely outside the hapū to colonial settlers, revised 22 February 2021
rangihīroa, Ka tukia ano a Wairaka, she strikes again, Outside Pak n Save, Mt Albert, 14 October 2017. The Whakatāne ancestor Wairaka who lived atop our local maunga before returning to Bay of Plenty was known for her stamping the ground and water springing up
rangihīroa, taki toru, rau kōwhai, 25 November 2017
rangihīroa, kōwhai yellow, native flower, 20
rangihīroa, Catholic emblems, cupboard top, inside ancestral house Maungārongo, Porotī, 2020
rangihīroa, Singaporean orchid, Winter Gardens, Pukekāroa, 12 April 2018
rangihīroa, Cosmos, Ōwairaka fenceline, 15 April 2019
rangihīroa, kina, Lake Ōhia, Muri Whenua, 3 September 2019
rangihīroa, ditch, Tōtara North, 3 September 2019
rangihīroa, kohukohu, St Lukes carpark, Ōwairaka, 4 August 2018
rangihīroa, Tōtara, roundabout State Highway 1, Pōrirua, 21 January 2021
rangihīroa, rau hue, bottle gourd ‘lagenaria siceraria’ leaf, 1 April 2019
rangihīroa, te aka, te tupuranga, whānaua ki a tini, whānaua ki a mano ‘the vine, growing, giving birth to myriads, sprouting the beginnings of identity’ – bottle gourd tendrills, 3 April 2019
rangihīroa, pink cyclamen shadow, Ōwairaka, 15 April 2019
rangihīroa, pu’a, gardenia, first bloom this season, Ōwairaka, 27 January 2019
rangihīroa, Ko te hīrere tāwhana ‘the arcing torrent’, early morning, Ōwairaka, 17 August 2020
rangihīroa, wild purple leaf plum, e puawai ana ki te ahiahi nei’ ‘flowering this afternoon’, Ōwairaka, 28 August 2020
rangihīroa, ngā hua, mountain pawpaw, papaya, Ōwairaka, 30 January 2021
rangihīroa, More of my Tāne redefined in the urban areas of Aotearoa. A series of images of native fauna, rākau and wai found leading to and along the Pōneke waterfront. A beautiful day today in the capital, 22 January 2021
rangihīroa, pōhutukawa, Ōwairaka, 26 November 2020
rangihīroa, pōhutukawa, Cable Bay, Waiheke, 1 December, 2018
rangihīroa, ‘star fern’, whetu rauponga, Ōwairaka, 17 December 2018
rangihīroa, today’s rose blooms, Ōwairaka, 6 January 2019
rangihīroa, lime , tino reka te kākara o te puawai nei , Ōwairaka, 17 November 2018
rangihīroa, te ripeka, grass markings, Gribblehirst Park ‘Cabbage Tree Swamp’ park, Kingsland, 28 June 2018
rangihīroa, tonal kōwhai, Ōwairaka, 1 June 2018
rangihīroa, e toru ngā āporo, 3, Ōwairaka, 12 May 2018
rangihīroa, anthurium with tā moko design, Ōwairaka, 21 March 2017
rangihīroa, cherry blossom falling, Ōwairaka, 23 March 2017
rangihīroa, i whānau au i te hau kāinga o Anguganak, Papua Nūkini, this design involves a fuschia pattern within the hibiscus, both are native to this enormous South Pacific territory
Whakahemo atu ‘gone’, 2018
rangihīroa, River, they are standing around…2016
rangihīroa, Whiria or Pākanae, overlooking the Hokianga harbour, was the pā of Kupe the orginal discoverer of Aotearoa. It was also the fortified settlement of Rāhiri the eponymous ancestor of Ngāpuhi which was said to have never been taken. The panorama shows descendants of Kupe and Rāhiri atop the tihi of Whiria as part of a Ngāpuhi wānanga
rangihīroa, He Tākupu o te tōtara me te pūroto kei te puna o Taumarumaru, 9 March 2018
commemorative lei aroha
pare puarangi, 2017, picked hibiscus
rangihīroa, droplets on Rarotongan banana leaf, 1 March 2018
rangihīroa, freesia, 2 September 2017
rangihīroa, rau kōhūhū, Ōwairaka, 2017
rangihīroa, Huka te wairere, Waikato te awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi, 5 November 2020
rangihīroa, Native assemblage, Ōwairaka, 16 March 2019
rangihīroa, ngutu kaka no Motu Kapiti, Ōwairaka, 2020
rangihīroa, graffiti, uru bamboo, Governor Grey’s Mansion, Motu Kawau, 5 February 2017
rangihīroa, aloe plicatilis against tanekaha derived bark, 25 April 2018
rangihīroa, Tāmure, caught Pahi River, Kaipara Harbour, Waitangi weekend, e tāmure, te tama o Ikatere me Tangaroa hoki, ngā whakawhetai mō ngā kamenga momona e toru i hoatu mai e koe ki a tātou, te whānau nei, 12 February 2020
rangihīroa, fern with no stem, 16 March 2019
rangihīroa, mamaku fern ‘cyathea medullaris‘ silhouettes on cast concrete, shot while walking to the bank, St Lukes, 10 April 2019
rangihīroa, Hahau, …to fashion with an adze. This pou ‘post’ revealed itself on a South Kaipara Head property. It was a marker post and has the marks of a toki. I think the rākau rangatira is kauri, 29 September 2019
rangihīroa, pare puawai, flowers gathered from Ōratia, kia ora Catherine Perich, 30 September 2017
rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka, the conversation continues, 17 August 2020
rangihīroa, New Years celebrations acknowledge cycles of time. Flowers are the most spectacular part of a plant’s life cycle. Here are nine images from a recent trip to the Auckland Botanical Gardens. Colour your new year 31 December 2020
rangihīroa, ngā puawai, mountain pawpaw, papaya, Ōwairaka, 30 January 2021
rangihīroa, native flowers, poroporo ‘solanum aviculare’ soft wooded NZ native nightshade with recognised anti-inflammatory properties = steriodal saponin solasonine see ‘the good poison’ 17 November 2020
rangihīroa, Taipa beach, te atatū ‘sunrise’, after the storm, 7 June 2019
rangihīroa, Waipu cove, Te Tai Tokerau, 22 January 2019
rangihīroa, kōwhai and harakeke silhouette on concrete, Ōwairaka, 6 January 2019

rangihīroa, Uncle Hekenukumai Busby’s navigational Star Compass, Te Aurere. This pou is the Hawaiian carved compass point embellished today with lei used in Thursday morning ritual 6 December 2018 acknowledging 1985 visit of te waka hourua Hōkūle‘a ki Waitangi, 10 December 2018
rangihīroa, Tūroa, Maunga Ruapehu, Tongariro National Park, Aotearoa, 7 October 2018
rangihīroa, MAORI AZZ – Tawa, Waiau, whanga Manukau, 18 June 2018
rangihīroa, black ferns, ngā ata, Ōwairaka, 14 May 2018
rangihīroa, jacarandas in blue vase – reflection, Ōwairaka, 13 December 2017
rangihīroa, rau karamu, Ōwairaka, 18 September 2017
rangihīroa, cherimoya, first hand pollinated fruit, mid-summer, 31 March 2019
rangihīroa, e toru ngā rēmana, ‘3 limes, Ōwairaka, 9April 2019
solar powered dashboard hula girl, Hekenukumai Busby’s hau kāinga, Te Aurere, 11 December 2018
rangihīroa, Kua motumotu a Tāne, mamaku & concrete, St Lukes carpark, Ōwairaka 4 April 2018
rangihīroa, hue leaves and tendrills on wild plum branch and kentia palm, 9 April 2019
rangihīroa, he puawai of te rākau ngaio, there are small, beautiful native flowers – white with purple orchid-like streaks. The leaves are also speckled with radiant light. They shine en masse in their native environs, Ōwairaka, 27 Septemberm 2020
rangihīroa, pitau, fern, 20
rangihīroa, Riverhead bridge, 12 November 2018
rangihīroa, moenga, 2017
rangihīroa, ngaru pae ‘transverse wave’ Abyssinian banana leaf, Ōwairaka, 1 March 2018,
rangihīroa, St Lukes carpark nocturne, Ōwairaka, 12 May 2019
rangihīroa, chrysanthemum, Maungawhau, 25 August 2019
rangihīroa, Hīrere, Te Aurere, 3 September 2019
rangihīroa, Roadworks 6.00pm, Ōpononi, Whanga Hokianga, 28 July 2019
rangihīroa, white hibiscus, 27 February 2019
rangihīroa, Black Post in Ginkgo biloba leaf, Cabbage Swamp Tree Park, Ōwairaka, 24 July 2018
rangihīroa, Āta haere ‘slowly, deliberately…’ Kaupapa Māori, 29 September 2019
rangihīroa, Magnolia grandiflora, I climbed the tree to procure this bloom! Strong scent – native to southern United States, 27 December 2019
rangihīroa, te oneoneroa o Ruakaka, te wahapū o Whāngārei, 1 August 2020
rangihīroa, Te Waiheke o Huka. 15 metre cataract of whitewater emptying 220,000 litres per second over a 6 metre drop. Aroha for this river, so majestic and yet so abused. It straddles the aukati separating the tribal territories of Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa. For excellent information on the health of this river see Outside Taupō nui a Tia, 5 November 2020
rangihīroa, Ngauruhoe te maunga teitei, Ngāti Tūwharetoa te iwi. Horonuku Te Heuheu Tūkino IV te tāngata. Ko te ariki nei i hoatu ki te papa rēhia o Tongariro ki a tātou katoa, ki te iwi nei (1888) 30 January 2020
rangihīroa, ngā hua, mountain pawpaw, papaya, half circle, Ōwairaka, 30 January 2021
rangihīroa, Raumati ‘summer’ colour, nasturtiums bright tivaevae-like knock your socks off colour. They have gone wild taking over some magnolia grandiflora cuttings that I left last season, Ōwairaka, 22 November 2019
rangihīroa, E kōtare, he aha i titiro ‘what did you see’, 26 January 2019
rangihīroa, harakeke, phormium cookianum’ seed pods, Pak n Save, Ōwairaka, 30 December 2018
rangihīroa, Vintage Rose, Ōwairaka, 5 December 2018
rangihīroa, Whau, flowering and seed capsule phase, Ōwairaka Library, 16 November 2018
rangihīroa, te ringa huka ‘snow hand’, Tongariro National Park, 12 October 2018
rangihīroa, ko te ārai kōwhai ‘screen /obstruction’, Ōwairaka, 17 May 2018
rangihīroa, Abyssinian Banana, Ōwairaka, 29 October 2018
rangihīroa, rose accompanying William Blake poem from ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience, 1794, Ōwairaka, 8 November 2017
rangihīroa, Sir John Logan Campbell’s front door, Acacia Cottage. ‘The carvings of Titahi’ is a reference to the leader whose legacy is the earthworks on Maungakiekie. His facial ta moko ‘tattoo’ was chiseled. The topography of Maungakiekie speaks of that symbol of his mana rangatira, Te Tōtara i Āhua, 1 January 2018
rangihīroa, rau rengarenga, Ōwairaka, 30 June 2018
Mystery solved regarding Banana Flower drop, Ōwairaka