Bonita Bigham

Mātauranga Interrupted


Kō Taranaki te maunga
Kō Aotea me Kurahaupo ngā waka
Kō Ngāruahine me Te Atiawa ngā iwi.

My life is an ongoing exercise of navigation within a Eurocentric paradigm, constantly pursuing validation of culture, language, identity, genealogy and connection to air, land and sea.

This comes into particular focus as a direct participant within Treaty settlement processes and in understanding the legacy of being a direct descendant of a Parihaka prisoner. Inspired greatly by ‘He Puanga Haeata,’ the 2017 reconciliation between the people of Parihaka and the Crown, my research and recent practice seeks to explore artistic response to that event.

However, it is the 2018 stranding of a pod of pāraoa (sperm whales) along my hapū’s coastline and the subsequent hauhake (harvesting) of cultural resources that, to me, truly highlights the depth and breadth of our interrupted cultural knowledge.

This work pays homage to that legacy and that experience. Mouri ora!

Master of Fine Arts


Block 2
Level D

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