In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • About the Artist: Natalie Robertson
  • Moana Nepia

Natalie Robertson (Ngāti Porou, Clann Dhònn chaidh) is an Aotearoa/New Zealand pho tographer, video artist, and senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology whose work has been exhibited at the Musée du Quai Branly (Paris), Museo Nacional de las Culturas (Mexico City), Musée de la Civilisation (Québec), and Cuba Casa de la Cultura de Tulum (Havana), as well as in Germany, China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Caledonia, Australia, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Whether documenting the effects of modern agricultural practices on the natural environment, observing intimate rituals of care and communal responsibility, or tracing tribal pathways along rivers from aerial drone cameras, Robertson draws on both customary and contemporary ways of seeing and histories of storytelling that connect people to places and to one another. Robertson’s work may also be understood in terms of what she describes as a “gap between what is real and what is imagined,” as “the distance between what is now, and what will be” in “the wing-beat of a piwakawaka, a fantail.” Moments captured photographically in this way reveal as much about creative potential and imagination as they do about social concern. Robertson’s photographic contributions for A Whakapapa of Tradition: One Hundred Years of Ngāti Porou Carving, 1830–1930, written by Ngarino Ellis (2016), won the Judith Binney Best First Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. In early 2019, she represented Aotearoa/New Zealand at the second Honolulu Biennial (

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Photo by Moana Nepia

The art featured in this issue can be viewed in full color in the online versions. [End Page v]

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Boiled Pig Head, Te Rimu, Tikapa, by Natalie Robertson, 2012.

Inkjet print on Ilford Gold Silk Paper, 22 x 28 inches.

In October 1769, Captain James Cook and his Endeavour crew reached Aotearoa/New Zealand. Within the first hour of land-fall at Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa (now the site of Gisborne city) crew members killed Te Maro, a local Ngāti Oneone rangatira (chief). By the end of the next day, several more Māori were shot dead. Two hundred and fifty years later, these events still loom large in the minds of local Māori. As in Hawai‘i, where he was eventually killed, Cook is remembered by many for the tragic consequences of such interactions and the devastating impacts of colonization that followed rather than for his application of scientific methods to exploration. Robertson’s Boiled Pig Head takes on heightened meaning in this light. Feral pigs nicknamed “Captain Cookers,” first introduced by early European visitors, are now hunted by Māori; boiled with kūmara (sweet potato), puha (sow thistle), and watercress; or cooked in hāngi (earth ovens), especially on large festive occasions. [End Page vi]

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Nukutaimemeha, Rangitukia, by Natalie Robertson, 2011.

Inkjet print on Ilford Gold Silk Paper, 22 x 28 inches.

For the people of Ngāti Porou, from Aotearoa/New Zealand’s East Coast region, Nukutaimemeha is the name of the waka from which Maui fished up Te Ika-a-Maui (North Island). They believe it remains in fossilized form on Mt Hikurangi, the tallest mountain in this region and the first point of land in Aotearoa/New Zealand to see the sun each day. The waka in this image, bearing the full name Te Aio o Nukutaimemeha, was carved by Greg Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, who is renowned for helping to rejuvenate the art of oceangoing waka building in Aotearoa/New Zealand and introducing waka ama (outrigger canoe) racing to the country’s sporting scene. Commissioned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, Nukutaimemeha measures approximately 45 meters long and was completed in 1999. Never launched, Nukutaimemeha has rested in a paddock at the mouth of the Waiapu River for many years. Plans to move it to Mt Hikurangi were announced in 2019. [End Page vii]

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