Pukepuke/Nathan Homestead & Auckland Botanic Gardens
30 June – 4 August 2018

Bringing together diverse artists and artworks, Āta Haere I Te Wao / A Walk in the Park is an exhibition exploring the relationship between people and kauri in light of the rapid spread of kauri dieback disease. When the very action of a simple 'walk in the park' becomes a potential threat to our forest, no simple feat at all, how then can we learn to 'step lightly' through the landscape? Can we learn to move into the future with care, attention and aroha for kauri, for the ngahere and for ourselves?
Āta Haere I Te Wao / A Walk in the Park was a part of the 2018 Auckland Matariki Festival.

Aroha Kauri Day – Free Public Programme:
Saturday 21 July 2018 / Auckland Botanic Gardens and Nathan Homestead

As part of the exhibition Āta Haere I Te Wao / A Walk in the Park, which highlights the significance of the Kauri tree as a national taonga and a keystone species, The Kauri Project presented Aroha Kauri Day, a special day of family-friendly activities, displays and talks. The day began at Auckland Botanic Gardens to learn about the ecology of the Kauri tree and how we can help preserve them in the face of Kauri dieback disease. Exhibiting artists, researchers and science experts were on hand to share their knowledge about this unique and ancient native tree. A floor talk was held at Nathan Homestead gallery and MP and co-leader of the Green Party, Marama Davidson, read her poem ‘Bloody Cheeky Kauri’ written for the exhibition (see below). The event concluded with an expert panel discussion on how you can support kauri. The panelists were: Dr Nick Waipara (Plant and Food Research); Professor Rosie Bradshaw (Massey University); Dr Monica Gerth (Victoria University); Dr Bruce Burns (University of Auckland); Dr Ian Horner (Plant and Food Research}. The panel was chaired by Auckland Botanic Gardens curator Rebecca Stanley. You can listen to their presentations by copying the following urls to a webpage: https://tinyurl.com/ArohaKauri-Bec-Nick-Rosie / https://tinyurl.com/ArohaKauri-MonicaGerth / https://tinyurl.com/ArohaKauri-Bruce / https://tinyurl.com/ArohaKauri-Bruce2 / https://tinyurl.com/ArohaKauri-Ian

Ata Haere I Te Wao (go carefully in the forest)
An old Conservation Department campaign once asked us to ‘leave nothing but footprints’ – however now even a footprint may be deadly. How do we re-imagine our relationship to the ngāhere, to our forests, and their delicate ecosystems in the light of the spread of kauri dieback disease? What is our responsibility now and into the future? ‘A walk in the park’ is a phrase commonly used to refer to something that is easy, without trouble. Kauri dieback disease very directly has complicated this idea, spreading as it does through soil ranges that iwi Te Kawerau a Maki in December 2017 placed a rāhui, a customary restriction on entering the forest, in order to prevent further spread and to allow the forest time to heal. In this situation a walk in the park has become not only scientifically problematic but also culturally complex.

Artists: Laurence Aberhart; Nicole Charles; Zena Elliot; Adrienne Grant; Charlotte Graham; Fred Graham; Star Gossage; Jo Hardy; Philip Kelly; Tessa Laird; Xavier Meade; James Ormsby; Kura Te Waru Rewiri; Natalie Robertson; Marama Davidson; Mark Harvey; Leilani Kake; Haruhiko Sameshima; Delicia Sampero Sandra Thompson; Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Bloody Cheeky Kauri
Who do you think you are?
Stubbornly clinging to your status
As a bastion of Te Wao Nui a Taane
An ancient anchor of our forest ecosystem
How dare you!

What are you trying to say?
That having pushed through scores of millennia – unscathed
It took but a few comparative seconds of human corruption
That uncovered your deeply rooted standing
Exposing your source of life to dangerous elements
Exposing our negligence
How dare you!

What are you trying to prove?
That we will rally for you?
That we will recall your mana as tuakana of our ngahere?
That we will recloak your deeply rooted standing with earth that is disease-free?
How presumptive of you.
How dare you!

I know people like you, cheeky kauri.
Who have the cheek to still be standing
Whose language was violently ripped from the tongues of their tamariki
Whose land was blatantly stolen from the hands of their collective
Whose lives are sometimes lost, when the roots of their standing
are exposed to the inhumanity of colonisation

I know people like you
Who defy the ruinous agenda
Who have the cheek to speak their reo, to claim their whakapapa – to live.
Bloody cheeky Māori

How dare they!

Bloody Cheeky Kauri...

Nā Marama Davidson
Te Rawara, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou
Coleader for the Green Party of Aotearoa