Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust

It’s been an incredibly busy month for the Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust and Te Ana Ngāi Tahu Rock Art Centre. In February the trust hosted French archaeologist and world authority on cave art, Professor Jean Clottes, during a visit to the Aoraki district. Starting with a pōwhiri at Arowhenua Marae, Professor Clottes spent four days in the field visiting rock art sites with trust and Te Ana staff and local rūnanga members. Stressing that “he was here as a student, not a teacher” Professor Clottes was eager to learn about the relationship that rūnanga have with the sites in their takiwā, and was impressed with the efforts of the trust to record and protect these taonga.

As part of the visit, Professor Clottes hopes to establish an ‘international knowledge exchange’ enabling a young Māori researcher to travel to France in 2014, and develop research links in the field of rock art.

In early March the trust hosted a rock art hui for Ngāi Tahu artists at Arowhenua Marae, with a focus on connecting contemporary artists with the artworks of their ancestors. The rainy weather didn’t dampen the rōpū’s enthusiasm for this kaupapa, with a full day of site visits followed by amazing presentations from Ross Hemera and Brian Allingham. Kōrero continued late into the night.

Funded through a grant from the Ngāi Tahu Fund, the trust is keen for the artists hui to become a regular event, and that further arts initiatives will grow from it in the future. Go to youtube/Ngaitahu to watch a video of the hīkoi.

Left to right – Yann-Pierre Montelle, French Ambassador Frances Etienne, Professor Jean Clottes, Sue Eddington, Brett Harris, Wendy Heath, Kalinia Rahui-Harris.

Karl Russell and Ngāi Tahu artists Simon Kaan, Rachael Rakena, Helen Mudgway and Priscilla Cowie at the Ōpihi Taniwha rock art site.

Ngāi Tahu artists gather to discover Māori rock art.