Telling one’s own story is often not only a self-reflective course of action, but it is also a course resonant with the experiences of many. It is the public sharing of feelings, thoughts and experiences, which others are able to relate to, that often spurs an individual or group to share similar histories. This is when the personal becomes the political.
Katharine Ngatai is exploring her life as a Maori/European, living a suburban lifestyle in the largest city in New Zealand.
Disenfranchised from her iwi by time and location - her family have lived in Auckland all her life - she seeks, through her work, not only to rationalise the dislocation that she feels as an urban Maori, but also seeks ways to relocate herself and her whanau within their mixed cultural heritage.
These investigations by Maori, as well as other first nation peoples, are well recorded. It is quite normal that individuals seek to find ways to return, not by focusing on the negative, but instead seeking out knowledge and adapting that knowledge into aspects of contemporary life.
→ Katharine Ngatai: Ngatai Family Portraits, 2005, publication