Resurrection & Reclamation

Black & white edition of 4
Colour fills edition of 6

 

 

 

Resurrection and reclamation speaks to the introduction of Christianity to Aotearoa and its effect on Maori.

Dr Ranginui Walker described Christianity as “total colonisation in that it involved cultural invasion and colonisation of the minds of the invaded as well”. He was describing missionaries and the church as the vanguard of colonisation. 

To indoctrinate an indigenous race involves a few strategic steps. One being translating or transforming the Bible, into not only the indigenous language but into the indigenous culture.

This requires first creating an alphabet or codifying the indigenous language to conform to colonial literary conventions. In doing so indigenous learn to read their own language through a foreign structure. Many nuances of Maori language were omitted, “classic Māori” as it came to be known would be established in print as the Māori language.   Some argue that the bible was a tool for liberation, not colonisation.  That Maori were encouraged to analyse the word of the Lord and in doing so they themselves reinterpreted the Bible resulting in multiple Māori religious factions including Ringatu, Pai Marire, Ratana, Parihaka to name a few.  It is no surprise that Māori not only adopted the religion but took ownership of it and transformed it into a Māori world view.

In this print common image of Jesus sits above a Pipiwhararoa (Shining Cuckoo). The Pīpīwharauroa is a native bird to Aotearoa that is brood parasitic, implanting its eggs into that of other birds to be raised by others.  Here its represents Christianity implanting itself into the Māori culture and forcing out the original beliefs, demanding full attention. The Skull represents human fragility, the Huia feather represents loss in the extinction of something once beautiful and completely unique, and the Kawakawa represents nurturing and healing, a rongoa (medicine) for all.