© Rangihīroa Panoho, 2020-2023. No part of this document (text or imagery) is free to be copied, plagiarised or shared for publication or for uses neither intended nor agreed on by the author without his express permission. Details for writing to the author are as follows: blueskypanoho@icloud.com  

‘ĀTĀROA presents a richly informed and passionate response by Panoho to a critical time and events in our history that remains vital to gain a fuller understanding for our future.’

An exhibition involving photography, paintings and wānanga concerning Ngā Pakanga Whenua o Mua ‘NZ Land Wars’ first shown at Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, 2021. Portions of the exhibition, along with taonga from our family collection, were re-installed at St Luke’s Hall Mt Albert as part of the 150 years celebration of the Whare Mihinare in Ōwairaka, 16 October 2022 and more recently within Whetū Mārama whare wānanga at the Kupe Waka Centre outside Taipa in the far North (10 December 2022 – 10 February 2023). Ngā mihinui ki a Paul Simei-Barton, ko Te Ihi Kikorangi Toka Panoho, John Panoho, Jim Cox and all the other friends and whānau that helped make these shows happen. They are a huge undertaking and my heartfelt thanks.

Hawaiian kava ceremony, Star Compass looking towards Whetū Mārama, Kupe Waka Centre, Te Aurere, 10 December 2022

rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka III, preparatory sketch, 29 July 2022

tivaevae manu leading towards ‘Lingling-o’ and ‘Nightmares…’ Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022
Rangihīroa, ‘Northern Wars’, 2020 and ‘Nada Mas [Nothing More]’…Painting on board and wooden assemblage, North East face, Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022
‘Lingling-o’, ‘Nightmares Follow, They Always Begin with these Numbers…’ West face, Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022
Rangihīroa, ‘Nightmares follow…they begin with these numbers…’, 2021. Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022

‘Pare kawakawa’, ‘Bamboo Dendroglyphs, Governor George Grey”s Mansion, Kawau Island’ ‘Pūriri Berries, Ruapekapeka parekura’ 2021. Photographic printing, OpticMix, Titirangi, framing, Homestead Framers, Henderson. South Face, Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022
Ngatu, Tongan barkcloth featuring the Norfolk Pines at Royal Palace, Nuku’alofa between night and day signifiers and other symbols of monarchy, Whare, St Lukes, Ōwairaka Mihinare, 150 Year Celebration, 16 October 2022. The tapa is ngatu and relates to my American mentor Professor Jehanne Teilhet-Fisk and her lifelong work on women tapa makers in Tonga. She gifted me this piece in exchange for my (with help from Toi Māori exec Garry Nicholas) facilitating 2 leading ta moko artists to work on designs for Jehanne and her daughter Samantha. The tivaevae manu is an applique quilt featuring a flower celebrated in Rarotonga. I purchased it there from a tivaevae maker’s collection to celebrate my love of the pattern and colour that was part of ‘Te Moemoea no Iotefa’ the groundbreaking Pacific show I curated for the Sarjeant Gallery Whanganui, and the City Galleries – Auckland and Wellington 1990-1991.


Artists talk, MAHARA GALLERY, Waikanae, 21 August 2021 (postponed due to COVID lockdown)

Mark Amery, Dominion Review, Wellington + Stuff
Kapiti News, July/August 2021
  • This exhibition features photography, painting, poetry and field research at Northern Wars sites
Capital, Wellington based magazine

OPENING 24 July 2021

opening day ĀTĀROA, Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, 24 July 2021
signage, Waikanae, ĀTĀROA
9 metre ‘Ngā Mahi Aroha i tuku iho’ and studio paintings (aerial hanging) as detailed below, ĀTĀROA, Mahara Gallery
cross installation of images primariy concerning Ruapekapeka, Tapuaeharuru ranges and lowest central image – Bamboo graffiti, te whare roa o Kawana Kerei, Motu Kawau, Hauraki te moana, ĀTĀROA
photographs, ĀTĀROA
Aloha series, acrylic on constructed, laminated and prepared wood, 1200 x 5000 installation, mixed internal dimensions, ĀTĀROA
taku hoa rangatira me te tama ko Te Ihi Kikorangi Toka, ĀTĀROA, opening night 24 July 2021

Preparation for ĀTĀROA in a 105 year old cinema converted studio space in late May/June/July/August 2021

Below the latest version (central panel) of the 9 metre long Ngā Mahi Aroha ‘Acts of Love’, 2021 before it was rolled and stored and the fresh canvases recently coated with tinted gesso ready and waiting for the paintings that explore ideas originally set out in the work on paper.

Ngā Mahi Aroha i tuku iho, ĀTĀROA exhibition, acrylics and charcoal on cotton paper, 2.1 x 9 metres, Studio 6, Theatre Royal, Kingsland, 18 June 2021

centre panel, Ngā Mahi Aroha i tuku iho ‘acts of love passed down’, work on paper, 9000 x 1200
The old Theatre Royal, Kingsland (built 1916) 486 New North Road. I have been working in Studio 6, the renovated rear of the building, for the last couple of months. Perhaps appropriately the wall on which I have set up my painting practice was once the guilded framed wall on which ‘Benwell’s pictures every evening at 7pm’ were first projected in the century old theatre.

end wall with beginnings of nine metre long ‘Ngā Mahi Aroha i tuku iho’ (left of image), Studio 6, Royal Theatre, 486 New North Rd, Kingsland
Te Kopua ‘the deep’, ink on cotton paper, 2021. This, my last posting from my work in Studio 6 in Kingsland, is a work in progress (I plan to insert Kawiti’s text in the cloud blown up by the parāoa as seen in my earlier sketchbook drawing) that deals with a conversation between Ngāti Hine rangatira Te Ruki Kawiti and the more youthful Ngāpuhi leader Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai around the time of the Northern Wars (1845/1846). Kawiti offered the following comment to Heke:
I mea au i tu ai koe ki te riri kia taea te ika o te kōpua, kahore i te patihitihi nei ano, kua karanga koe KĀTI.
‘I expected when you took up arms that you would go out to catch the fish of the deep; now, only in the shallows, you are calling out for peace.’

The reference in this painting to TE KŌPUA ‘the deep’ is to the whale (or the British army and navy) that arrived from Poihākena ‘Sydney’ to avenge the sacking of New Zealand’s first capital Kororareka and to restore what they saw as law and order in Te Tai Tokerau in what would become known as the beginning of the ‘Northern Wars’. Recovering from wounds sustained against Tamati Waka Nene near his pā at Te Ahuahu Hone Heke arrived at the end of the battle of Ruapekapeka in early January 1846.
Interestingly Heke also used ‘te ika o te kōpua’ as a metaphor in his prolific correspondence to British leaders and missionaries. Writing to the newly appointed Governor George Grey he said,
‘God made this country for us. It cannot be sliced; if it were a whale it might be sliced. Do you return to your own country, which was made by God for you. God made this land for us; it is not for any stranger or foreign nation to meddle with this sacred country.’
My aesthetic point of reference in ‘Te Kōpua’ is to the work of Dutch artist Matthias Sallieth (1749-1791) whose sperm whale engraving was interpreted by engraver Hendrik Kobell and Diederik de Jong in the whaling manual ‘Nieuwe beschryving der walvisvangst en haringvisschery’ (Amsterdam, 1792).
To me the parāoa ‘sperm whale’ is a reference to the scale of the undertaking that both Heke, Kawiti and many other leaders realised when they took on the British in the various pakanga whenua o mua around Aotearoa. The incredible bravery required to take on the big fish of the deep is a profoundly moving legacy abundantly evident in any of the major NZ Land Wars sites that one can still visit today. This includes places like Ruapekapeka and Ōhaeawai in the North, Te Rangihaeata’s stand at Pāuatahanui outside Pōrirua and Rāwiri Puhirake’s stand at Pukehinahina (Gate pā) and many of the other parekura throughout the North Island

The Ātāroa panorama above and details of the work in the following nine images are part of my preparation for ĀTĀROA which opens in around a month at the above Kapiti gallery. The 9 metre long painting which I have been working on the above Kingsland studio, for the last month, is designed to open up conversations concerning Ngā Pakanga Whenua ‘NZ Land Wars’ and the Kapiti/Wellington and Te Tai Tokerau regions. Over the next month I will post images of the remaining work that grows out of this opening and which will feature in the show. Ātāroa suggests, as I have already done so in my writing, that Ngā Pakanga Whenua o Mua involves troubled unresolved histories that continue to cast long shadows into contemporary New Zealand. One of the key issues that the painting ‘Ātāroa’ describes is the loyalist/separatist strands of hapū and iwi allianaces which involve very different responses both to the past but also to the future. My thanks to Creative New Zealand for the opportunity to research and paint this wānanga. I look forward to the opportunity of exhibiting and of talking to this painterly research in the Wellington region later in the year.

This painting is divided into two with a river that connects. It has both a northern and a southern component
Whetoi Pomare II – Ngāti Manu rangatira whose people occupied the major Bay of Islands pā site Ōtuihu, which once stood at the mouth of the Taumarere River. Otuihu was destroyed by the 58th and the 96 regiments who were ferried there by Te Nōta ‘North Star’ at the beginning of the Northern Wars.  After surrendering himself and waving a white flag, while his people evacuated, Pōmare was chained to the mast of the ship. Te Nōta and Herehere ‘to be bound or imprisoned’ have been passed down as names amongst descendants to remember these hara ‘offences’ and the larger losses which need addressing. 

The following images are preparatory works from which a final selection will be made for the show. I will also be adding to this selection the works that I currently am completing in the Studio over the next month.

comemorative wreath
1. rangihīroa, pare kawakawa, 2000 x 2000 @ 300 ppi , 600 x 600mm

he pare pupuri ‘rembrance garland’. My contribution to the memory of wars involving Aotearoa both locally and overseas. Tomorrow is ANZAC day when we remember soldiers from New Zealand and Australia who fought and died in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign in 1915. Both that conflict in the Dardanelles, North Western Turkey and on the Western Front deserve our focus over the last century. Many New Zealand families and towns and settlements throughout Aotearoa bore the burden of their rangatahi dying or returning seriously wounded or affected by that particular battle site.

It is the view of David Reynolds, Professor of International History at Cambridge University, that the Great War is under appreciated in its European context. He sees the 1914-1918 conflict as creating the environment that precipitated the second world war. Reynolds uses the useful metaphor of the shadow in his revisionist history. Here’s a link to a good BBC documentary for those who may be interested:

Reynold’s reading of the Great War got me thinking about the impact of the nineteenth century land wars in Aotearoa. I believe that the shadow cast by the earlier Māori/pākehā conflicts at sites like Ruapekapeka, Rangiriri, Ōrakau, Gate Pā, Te Pōrere and many other battles is also a long one. This ata ‘shadow’ is one that reaches across the twentieth century and it continues, for Māori, to be experienced in the 21st century. It is a malevolent darkness whose central grievance is the loss of enormous amounts of land and resources around the whole of Aotearoa.

I include an image featuring the balcony of one of New Zealand’s governors most involved in conducting war with Maori during the land wars. The fretwork of the balcony of his Kawau mansion in the Hauraki Gulf is in silhouette. Raupatu means ‘to conquer, overcome, take without any right.’ Governor Grey epitomises the complexity of nineteenth century politics and its impact on Māori since that time. Grey rightly could be considered a patron of Māori arts and literature. He built the largest and most comprehensive collection of Māori traditional knowledge ever assembled in written form. He cultivated friendships and alliances with all the paramount leaders of his time. He was also present while the British were pounding my ancestors who were supporting Ngāti Hine at Ruapekapeka. He ordered the invasion and the confiscations of vast lands in the Waikato and elsewhere. He ordered the stealthy kidnapping and temporary imprisonment (effectively the trampling of the mana) of Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauaparaha and more pertinently in 1845 with the unjust arrest and temporary imprisonment of tā tātou tupuna Pomare II shortly before the British forces bombed our Ngāti Manu stronghold Ōtuihu…

It is this raupatu, this taking of the land and the trampling on the mana of Māori peoples that is at the heart of the separatism and the protest movements that continue throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. Te Rarawa rangatira Nōpera Panakareao famously remarked prior to signing the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) that he saw the document as giving the shadow of the land to Queen Victoria while tāngata whenua were to retain the substance. He couldn’t have been more mistaken. The wars that developed around the land throughout the nineteenth century (and particularly in the 1860s) in Aotearoa proved the opposite to be the case. The long shadow cast is one with which Māori must continue to contend economically, physically, culturally, socially, psychologically…

Reynold’s conviction that the Great War impacted the world more profoundly than is commonly understood has then local application. A more careful examination of the Land Wars of the nineteenth century would help clarify a great deal of the misunderstanding and underlying conflict that hampers tāngata whenua and tauiwi efforts to understand and respect one another.

rangihiiroa, the division of Maunga Whatiriri by the Crown into 15 farms sold to Pākehā settlers, 1898, photo-generated design, 2021, 400 x 600 mm
rangihīroa, Okoihu, encaustic, charcoal and segments of Whāngārei maps on paper on board. 800 x 510 mm internal dimensions. The pā Okoihu was occupied by tā tātou tupuna Kukupa. In 1898 to protest the above division of his Whatitiri lands an ancestor Henare Toka sat atop Okoihu. This is from where our ingoa tuarua descends: Pa noho. Henare’s papa kāinga at the western base of Maunga Whatitiri was called Whiti te Rā, it featured a villa homestead. This work alludes to the view and features the archaeological dig conducted on the tihi of the wāhi tapu. Whatitiri is part of a Waitangi claim made by Te Uriroroi te tangata whenua o te rohe nei
2. rangihīroa, Hato Mikaere, Ōhaeawai, 2019, 10168 px x 3104 px, 13.8 mb jpeg, 300 x 900 mm photoshop 21 file
3. rangihīroa, Governor George Grey’s Diningroom table, Mansion, Kawau Island, 23 October 2016, 13632 px x 4794 px, 10.8 mb jpeg, photoshop 21 file, 300 x 900 mm
rangihīroa, Governor George Grey’s Mansion, Hauraki facing exterior, Kawau Island, 2016, 1362 px x 3024 px, 33.7 mb, photoshop 21 file
rangihīroa, whare raupatu, George Grey’s Hauraki Gulf facing balcony, Governor’s Mansion, Kawau Island, 2016, 600 x 600 mm
4. rangihīroa, Graffiti, Bamboo Grove, grounds Governor Grey’s Mansion, 2016, 600 x 600 mm

excerpts of rangihīroa text for Mōteatea and essay, ‘Kakati te namu…‘ from Bruce Connew, ‘A Vocabulary’ 2021, Vapour Momenta Press


7. rangihīroa, fieldwork on research leave from School of Design, Pōneke, Ruapekapeka in Panoho, MAORI ART: History, Architecture, Landscape and Theory, Batemans, Tāmaki, 2015/2018. PHOTO: Mark Adams 185 x 185 mm
8. Rangihīroa, Northern Wars (1845/1846) preparatory sketches, 2020 , 650 X 490 mm overall dimensions (2 x 15 mm gaps between images)
detail, Ruapekapeka, drawing 2020 (above in triptych)

9. preparatory drawings, native kuri atop Tuscan column 2020 (left), 360 x 135 mm
10. Rāhiri at Whiria, Pākanae, Hokianga te whanga, wānanga, 2020 (right), 345 x 380 mm
11. rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka 2020 (left), ink on paper, drawing, 170 x 155 mm

12. rangihīroa, Ōhaeawai, 2020 (right), ink on paper, drawing, 170 x 155 mm

12. Nada Mas, 2021 (work in progress) painted and carved wooden assemblage on board, kauri, tawa, mission oak, japanese cherry

rangihīroa Northern Wars, 2020, Japanese cherry, matai and acrylic inks on paper with western red cedar bungalow frame. internal dimension of drawing: 930 x 450 mm leave unglazed). This work is a reference to the 99th Regiment monument in Hobart raised in 1850 by Colonel Despard and his regiment to remember the British forces who had fallen in the Northern Wars. Not one mention was made of Māori. Here I visually quote the Tuscan column at Hobart and atop which I place our native kuri, a dog that did not bark as a reference to not only our presence in this memorial but also to mark te timatanga o te noho puku. The two battle plans of Ōhaeawai and Ruapekapeka – are featured at the base of the pillar. Uenuku, – the rainbow and the reference to Rāhiri’s son and the reciprocal support of Taumarere and Hokianga hapū one to the other as envisaged by the eponymous ancestor, joins the two parekura

13. rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka, 2020, 3307 × 2480, 300 × 300 ppi, 55.1 mb psd file, 400 x 600 mm

rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka: Ngāti Hine – pukepukerau, ink on paper drawing [in progress], 2021, 260 x 465 mm

14. rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka sky, 2021, 7442 px x 10524 px, 7.3 mb, PS 22, 300 x 900 mm
Ohaeawai, St MIchaels Church window exterior

rangihiiroa, Nunca Mas ‘never again’, Ruapekapeka, 2020, drawing collection: Nick Griffin (nee Cherington) and Summer Pocklington
rangihīroa, TEN SHADES OF CRIMSON, 2020

The parekura
sits silent
no noise at all
just the chatter
of a tui
wrecking putiputi
down by the hall
just the wind
across the fertile plains
he swore he heard their
voices around
Ngāi Kuku’s last remains
down by the river
where the fighting pā
once stood
or was it just the twittering of
in the woods
the scale of the loss
disgusted him
it explained why he refused
the spirit path to Rēinga
instead he would choose
to guard over
bones and taonga
and mourn unmentioned loss
hidden from a nearby cenotaph
that refused to count the cost
raised to his last battle
near fields in which he toiled
he read the text again and again
as if it would reveal
some other truth or meaning
that might possibly transcend
a vocabulary of forgetting
bronze letters that won’t bend
colourful adjectives
murdering rebels, barbarous savages

he struggled with the message
they were a people worth forgetting

Indeed not a word
of his hapū’s bravery
no mention of their name
or that settler greed for land
was largely to blame
for a war they never asked for
how else could one explain
an eternity of loss within
a deep gnawing pain
and when archaeologists visit
he wishes he could yell
and call
Haere mai
E hoa, haul your trig over here, man
Yeah map us brother, draft us on that plan
but the grid only measures trenches
so we’ll always be missed
except by manuhiri
that want to take a mimi
and summer comes and summer goes
and the pōhutukawa bleeds
scarlet in the morning
10 shades of crimson
when the sun retreats

15. rangihīroa, Ruapekapeka, 16 March 2021, 600 x 350
16. rangihīroa, pūriri cleft, Ruapekapeka, 16 March 2021, 600 x 350

17. rangihīroa, te puawai o te pūriri, Ruapekapeka, 2021, 600 x 350
18. rangihīroa, Queen Annes Lace and rau aruhe, west face te parekura o Ruapekapeka, 2021, 400 x 600
19. rangihīroa, Kawiti’s canon, Ruapekapeka, sunset 2021, 600 x 350
20. rangihīroa, Uru pūriri, sunset, Ruapekapeka, sunset, 16 March 2021, 700 x 400
21. rangihīroa, Uru tōtara, Ruapekapeka, sunset, 16 March 2021, 600 x 450
rangihīroa, Sunset, Ruapekapeka, 16 March 2021
22. rangihīroa, te ātāroa, ko te parekura o Ruapekapeka, sunset, 16 March 2021, 600 x 350 mm
23. rangihīroa, reclining figure, Ruapekapeka, sunset, 1 May 2021, 600 x 450 mm
24. rangihīroa, Fire By Permit Only, entrance Ruapekapeka, sunset 1 May 2021, 300 x 450
rangihīroa, he parekura, Ruapekapeka, sunset 1 May 2021
25. rangihīroa, pukupuku fern and and sunset, Ruapekapeka 1 May 2021, 600 x 350 mm
rangihīroa, Wild Buck…mainstreet Ōhaeawai, 1 May 2021
rangihīroa, wānanga, Ngāti Manu roopu atop Otuihu (Whetoi Pōmare’s pā), Taumarere with current landowner John McIntosh (far right), 30 April 2021, 176 years to the day since the sacking and confiscation of the wāhi tapū by the British in 1845
rangihīroa, whare tupuna, looking out towards Pōmare’s final pā at Puketohunoa, Karetu, Taumarere, Ngāti Manu wānanga honouring 176 years since the destruction by the British of Whetoi Pōmare’s pā Otuihu, 30 May 1845
26. rangihīroa, urupā, St Michaels, Te Whare Karakia o Mikaera, Ōhaeawai 1 May 2021, 350 x 600
27. rangihīroa, Memorial to Rev. Ihaia Te Ahu inside St Michaels, Te Whare Karakia o Mikaera, 1 May 2021 , 600 x 350
28. rangihīroa, St Michaels exterior, Te Whare Karakia o Mikaera, Ōhaeawai, 1 May 2021 , 600 x 350
29. rangihīroa, urupā, St Michaels, Te Whare Karakia o Mikaera, Ōhaeawai, 1 May 2021, 600 x 350
30. rangihīroa, Rear mirror, St Michaels, Te Whare Karakia o Mikaera, Ōhaeawai, 1 May 2021

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