Huarere, the weather, conjures rere, flying, and immersion in the fullness, hua, our saturated atmosphere. Over a year of too much weather, artist-collectives radiate outward weather signals and inward presentiments, solar heat, wind energies, grief and salt rain. Artists give us means to radically imagine meteorological elements and other species, while in the midst of human struggles with the ‘one-in-one-hundred-year’ weather events that happen, contrary to the former science, every few months.

Our weather ear attunes to sounds of birds and thunder—agitated, flying away—while our weather eye alerts our senses, along with scientific instruments of weather observation. When the ‘atmospheric river’ entered our common lexicon, with each successive cyclone or deluge our bodies hooked into aches and scents of rain on the one hand, and the pulsing electronic blobs that creep across rain radars on screens on the other. Many of the artworks are less contained, expository events than un-presentational, ceaselessly rolling onward, rendering us sometimes helpless and sometimes hope-full.

Navigating Huarere: Weather Eye, Weather Ear

For today’s live weather update—step outdoors (with an umbrella). Attune to the wind’s voices played through Phil Dadson and James McCarthy’s rooftop Aeolian harps, Nga-hau-e-whā and Tamanui, transmitting to the Speaker Space at the entrance of Te Tuhi; or Paul Cullen’s weather stations that condense rain and leak in the courtyard; or FORECAST’s lively weather exchanges on the Reeves Road and Digital Billboards. Weather takes many guises in words, sounds and images, violent and destructive, warm and close, or clear enough to make the spirits right again, for now.

In the open foyer, reach across Moana Nui A Kiwa to Tonga while sitting beside Kalisolaite ‘Uhila’s live-stream from the ancient sundial Ha‘amonga a Maui. Radiating from further across the earth, find Emirati artist Nujoom Alghanem’s desert image and sounds in Field of Heat and Dust on the Project Wall by the far entrance. Her work is sent by Art Jameel, a member of the global World Weather Network; a postcard from a different clime, inscribed with the words of an endless blazing Summer. Hear the sounds of a full desert, the agitated bees and the sole bottle of honey from a season’s labour. Both Kalisolaite and Nujoom share an interest in pre-colonial astronomy: the collection of Northern Emirati honey follows the ancient Arabian Gulf Al Durour star calendar, while Ha‘amonga a Maui was used for celestial mapping of the seasons. Kalisolaite waits amongst the many weathers of one March day on the Autumn equinox 2023.

Weather soundings collide inside the interior gallery spaces. Maureen Lander’s muka Wave Skirt of the Hokianga calls from inside, glimmering silver with acrylic tags carried over from her previous works. The installation inside the Bev Smail gallery, Ngaru Paewhenua, the wave that comes ashore, moves with a tide of projected light, collected by Denise Batchelor, and with Stìobhan Lothian’s cyclical sound, echoing the lunar rhythms of the Maramataka from the shores of the Hokianga awa. The vibratory movement of plaited, then unfurled, raw harakeke shapes the intimate proportions of the gallery, fizzing with hair-like tendrils at their tips. The sea foams carry tohu—signs— including fish eggs, microbiota, micro-plastics and the fresh water from Antarctic sheet ice that slows the lighter salt water of our ocean circulating.

Hear the soft seawind sighs and plaintive notes from Gallery One recorded by the Breath of Weather Collective. The collaborators from the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Samoa and Aotearoa placed Aeolian harps on their shores and recorded wind harmonics and urgent messages and images on mobile phones. Phil Dadson’s documentary about the project shows Aeolian harps with legs made from washed-up detritus, precious bamboo splints or scrap metals as legs, combined with the DIY kit of essential strings, bridges and resonators sent to each collaborator. The harps are placed at sites where the sea gnaws the coastline and increasing cyclonic weather hastens the erosion and salt inundation that we recognise well around us.

The Iris Fisher gallery emanates MĀKŪ, te hā o Haupapa: Moisture, the breath of Haupapa, the sounds of the Haupapa glacier and lake at the foot of Aoraki. This ever-increasing awa wears away the long tongue of the glacier. The artwork gently changes order and appearance according to live weather conditions in a generative mix of sound and video recordings, from above and below water. While our third consecutive La Niña summer unleashed monsoons to the North and West coasts of Aotearoa, in Te Wai Pounamu, the South, the effect has spun sunny settled weather, accelerating the melt rates in our glacial regions.

Paul Cullen’s drawings for the installation Weather Stations in the interior atrium open out to the courtyard where the sculptural components are installed. Reassembled by artists Ammon Ngakuru and J.A. Kennedy for the first time in 14 years, some elements of the site-related installation are missing, left to weather. At the time of writing, wind-borne, crumpled oak leaves well up around the artwork. Raindrops condense on the tanks that hold no water. Half-hearted attempts at measurement or quasi-scientific quantification and fragile contraption-shelters against the storms ahead appear in Paul’s ink drawing on the left atrium wall from 1977.

The artworks each condense the longitudinal rhythm of seasons, punctuated by weather ‘events’ into intensified moments. While the winds and rains are carriers of both fierce and benevolent weather, the inseparability of earth’s climate from the ocean circulation of Te Moana Nui A Kiwa appears in a slowing, heating feedback loop: another message that climate is relentlessly reshaping our biosphere.

A weather station

Te Tuhi’s ‘weather station’ is part of the World Weather Network (WWN), an online platform connecting 28 arts organisations across the earth to document and express artist’s and writer’s experience of the new weathers. Huarere: Weather Eye, Weather Ear is a physical enclosure for artworks that build on, or connect to, six ‘weather reports,’ exhibited online, that took place from Matariki 2022 through Koanga, spring, and Ngahuru, autumn, equinoxes and return us now to Ihu o Hinetakurua, the winter solstice, 2023. The network archives and interrogates the weather: not just what is happening to us, but how humans are changing the weather. The rising debt of the climate crisis is unevenly spread amongst all humanity and other species, yet across the planet we share in innumerable losses: whenua, biome, creatures, people.

In the year of weather projects Te Tuhi has allied with small arts organisations in the WWN: SAHA in Istanbul and Art Sonje in Seoul exhibited Kōea O Tāwhirimātea: Weather Choir and Haupapa: The Chilled Breath of Rakamaomao; and we collaborated with IHME in Finland to participate in Katie Paterson’s incense ceremony To Burn, Forest, Fire next to Te Tuhi a Manawatere, the ancient Pōhutukawa tree at Cockle Bay. Word Weathers (2022) conceived by Mick Douglas, Julieanna Preston, Andy Lock and Layne Waerea included over 55 writers at the time of the dawn including WWN partners from Art Jameel (Dubai), IHME (Finland), Khōj (New Delhi), Museo de Arte de Lima (Lima), and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD) (Manila). Layne also was part of a collective film, How’s the weather?, produced by the WWN.

Every artwork in this exhibition has taken an intra-disciplinary collective to produce: whether tangata whenua, scientists, programmers, composers, archivists, astronomers, coastal dwellers or the weather itself. The task of social meteorology needs imaginative collaboration rather than striking out alone. While the wide reach of the World Weather Network propelled us far beyond the immediate warmth of homely digital portals, another kind of longing emerged. After the necessary isolation during the years of Covid-19; followed by the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai eruption that separated us from Tonga; the violent floods borne by cyclones Hale and Gabrielle causing the failure of basic roading and power infrastructure to connect regions of Aotearoa, and even suburbs within Tāmaki Makaurau—the social value of making and experiencing work in physical space became apparent. This exhibition invites you to be in a place rather than on screen, to feel the textures of things, and hear the weather’s harmonies and dissonances with your whole body.

He Mihi, acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge all the artists, collaborators and their friends and whanau for weathering the storms of 2022-2023 to carry on creating and supporting this exhibition. I am indebted to the staff at Te Tuhi for their care and labour in producing the artworks and the programme. Especially to Alena Kavka, who has been much more than an assistant curator, as well as Felixe Lang for your words and care, and to Andrew Kennedy for working tirelessly on the roof and galleries to bring out the sounds, beauty and force of the works. Sophie Elborough, Stephanie Post, Natasha Matila-Smith and team, thank you for all the work on the website, live-streaming and social media. I am grateful for Amberleigh Carson, Carla Ruka, Taini Drummond and James Tapsell-Kururangi who held the space in Cockle Bay for the Katie Paterson To Burn, Forest, Fire event. James and Michael from Artangel sparked the World Weather Network platform, and I thank them for enabling this connection to many artists internationally on the critical issue of the climate crisis. Thank you to NIWA for your support for our weather communications. Thank you also to Art Jameel (Dubai), a WWN partner, for your support with commissioning a work from Nujoom Alghanem.

Carla’s support as Te Tuhi’s Pou Ārahi has been steadfast. And many thanks to Hiraani Himona for your care as part of the steering committee for the World Weather Network and for trusting me to take all these projects forward.

The sponsors of this exhibition have also made the artworks possible, especially CNZ Toi Aotearoa for new works and digital strategy funding. I would also like to thank Auckland University of Technology and Summer research intern Hamish Carter. We give thanks for the gifts and sunlight of the weather atua and acknowledge the energetic expenditure of this exhibition. Where possible we have applied an ethos of reuse of exhibition materials and hardware, e-vehicle use, and we will plant to off-set our carbon emissions.

Ko tēnei taku mihi ki ngā tāngata whenua o te rohe nei. Ka mihi hoki au ki ngā tohu o te rohe nei. Ngā mihi nui, Janine Randerson.