Hukatai – huka/foam, tai/tide
Hukahuka – froth; thrums on a cloak; fringe; hanging in shreds
Hukatai – a white stone used in the ceremonies of the whare wananga
This artwork and installation will monitor the ephemeral, weather induced, nature of sea foam at the entrance and shoreline of the Hokianga Harbour in North West New Zealand. The south headland is named Araiteuru after a legendary taniwha who located in a cave there. Maureen Lander’s ancestor, Te Waenga, was a tohunga who controlled the wind and the waves at the bar entrance and kept his powers in the cave.
During autumn 2023 Maureen and Denise Batchelor will explore the hukatai, sea foams of the Hokianga harbour, through video and photographic monitoring and a subsequent sculptural installation by Maureen. Denise lives close to Araiteuru with views out over the harbour to Niwa, the taniwha embodied by the sandhills at the north head. She frequently photographs and videos the changing weather effects on the sky, sea and sandhills from her home and on her walks along the beach. When Maureen lived in Hokianga she often joined Denise and they worked together on a previous installation titled Ebb made in response to jellyfish and seaweed washed up along the shoreline.
The shoreline and the horizon are liminal spaces, thresholds or "crossing over” spaces where land meets sea and sea meets sky. Transitional spaces activated by weather. A liminal space can also be a longer space-time continuum. Sea foam is a visible indicator of the gradual effects of climate change on inundation over time as well as the immediate effect of weather events like storms at sea. It can also indicate the presence of toxic organisms such as algae bloom and microplastics that help churn up masses of foam in certain weather conditions.
About the artists
Maureen Lander (Te Hikutu, Ngapuhi) is a multi-media installation artist who has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally since 1986. From the early 1990s until 2007, Maureen taught Maori Material Culture courses at Auckland University. She has a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Elam School of Fine Arts and her contemporary artwork draws inspiration from woven fibre pieces in museum collections and early illustrations. Since her retirement from university teaching Maureen has continued to make and exhibit her artwork, mainly in the form of large fibre installations such as Aho Kura Huna in Te Papa’s cloak exhibition Kahu Ora (2012), Sky Skirts in Towards the Morning Sun (2013) at Campbelltown Arts Centre in West Sydney, and Flatpack Whakapapa (2017) at the Dowse Museum, Lower Hutt, then touring NZ until 2021.
In early 2019 Maureen moved from Hokianga to live in Whangamata near her family. Since then she has been involved in several community projects including a collaboration with Te Roopu Raranga o Manaia weavers in Wellington on a large interior artwork commission for the new Waitohi Library and Community Hub in Johnsonville. Over the last few months she has been working with a group of eight students to complete a commissioned artwork for the new atrium of the Engineering School at Auckland University. Her work is also represented in Puhi Ariki, the inaugural exhibition in the Wairau Maori Art Gallery at the new Hundertwasser Art Centre which opened in February 2022 in Whangarei. Dr Maureen Lander received a Te Waka Toi Kingi Ihaka award in 2019 and a Queen’s Birthday MNZM honour in 2020. During 2021 she and the Mata Aho Collective won the prestigious Walter’s Prize at Auckland Art Gallery for their installation Atapo, first exhibited in the Auckland Art Gallery’s major exhibition of Maori art, Toi Tu Toi Ora. In June 2022 she will receive a Distinguished Aulumni Award from the University of Auckland.
Denise Batchelor is a visual artist based in the Hokianga, in the far north of Aoteaora New Zealand. Working primarily in photography and video, her practice is predominantly focused on her engagement with the natural environment; capturing fleeting moments that are often overlooked or unseen. A recipient of artist residencies and art awards, Batchelor has exhibited widely in galleries, museums and festivals in New Zealand and internationally. Her work is held in public and private collections.