This post is dedicated to our NZ Native insects, fauna and natural species. New Zealand is reputed to have a pure natural environment. I gave a kōrero on this at NYU in 2004 in relation to the ‘100 % Pure’ Tourism NZ’s  campaign (begun 1999) that traded heavily on this international perception of Aotearoa as clean and green. My argument was that it resonated a long term crown desire to determine, support and perpetuate cultural authenticity in Māori visual artforms in New Zealand as well. You can read about that centrist vision in my book MAORI ART: History, Architecture, Landscape and Theory (Batemans, 2015).

In the natural world, many of our natural species are suffering from the environmental impacts of long-term exploitation, by New Zealanders and others, of our land, our forestry and our sea and water resources. I have a passion for Te Ao Tūroa, the natural world of Aotearoa, spent 15 years growing natives on a small lifestyle block in the Kaipara (North Auckland) and would like to return to create a home and a new natural environment somewhere in Te Tai Tokerau ‘the North’ soon. My connections and my environmental interests are in sync with the hapū to whom I belong. Te Uriroroi\Te Parawhau (Ngāpuhi\Ngāti Whātua), west of Whāngārei, have been involved in a lengthy struggle with local government and with local business for the protection and rangatiratanga ‘sovereignty’ over their taonga, the Whatitiri Springs, once renowned in the North for their purity and for their abundance. So when I chose to focus on the kōkopu ‘the native fish’ it is about the same kind of struggle with systems and industries that pollute and over-exploit the waterways and threaten not only their health but (in some cases in Aotearoa) their very existence. I hope my love of the land is not just kōrero pāpaku, shallow like the descending levels of our precious aquifers, and of our puna and awa like the Waipao. My hope is that some of this focus which can be found in my book my exhibitions and my art will encourage others to also become active in loving te ao tūroa and speaking up for and on behalf of Papa.

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