About the exhibition

In Tākiri, An Unfurling, seven contemporary artists explore early Māori and European encounters through new work inspired by museum taonga. Through soundscape, photography, illustration, cloth making, weaving and sculpture, each artist explores and confronts the ongoing impact of these historic events.

The exhibition runs from 12 October 2019 - 7 June 2020 at the Edmiston Gallery, Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa New Zealand Maritime Museum. 

Tākiri, An Unfurling is part of the nationwide Tuia 250 commemoration and is supported by funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Te Puna Tahua,Chisholm Whitney Charitable Trust and Pub Charity.

  • Reweti Arapere (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
  • Chris Charteris (iKiribati, Fijian, English)
  • Kohai Grace (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Porou, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa)
  • Nikau Gabrielle Hindin (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi)
  • Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Australian South Sea Islander)
  • Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāi Hinewaka, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāti Waewae) 
  • 7558 Collective

Tuia – Encounters 250 was a commemoration in 2019 marking 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769. Tuia 250 celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific voyaging heritage and was a national opportunity to hold honest conversations about the past, the present and how we navigate our shared future.


Mapping and mesauring

The first encounter between Māori and Cook meant new ways of measuring time and place. Along with instruments such as maps and clocks, came the notion that these modes of space and time would now be the accepted natural order. For the first time in Aotearoa, land was affixed to boundary lines on a chart, and time explicitly located itself in a timepiece. This was a cosmic shift.

For the artist, colonisation meant the removal of an intimate relationship in which stars were a unit of measurement and a tool to place yourself in space and time. A fundamental realignment of the universe forced itself upon the artist’s ancestors and over generations this displaced them from their ancestral place in the environment. While this was a powerfully destructive act, the artist feels that it is equally powerful and constructive to relearn these ariā (practises) and bring them back to life.

Why do you think the artist is interested in using traditional methods of kapa making?

Te whakatere waka ki ngā whetū – Navigating by the stars

Revitalising the art of aute

There's so much we can learn from plants

A graphic symbol of a Pacific star map

At the foot of this work, the artist places star houses at the point on the horizon where the stars rise. Stars rise from each house on their unique path. The horizontal marks on the edge of the artwork refer to phases of the moon over time.

Each house contains multiple stars, the paths of which a navigator must memorise. By using the knowledge of specific stars and their position on the horizon as they rise, navigators can precisely find their way across extraordinary distances. This artwork is a powerful graphic statement, but it is also a map of a highly detailed and technical navigational system, which the artist herself has mastered.

As Cook’s ENDEAVOUR sailed towards New Zealand, Tupaia, the Tahitian master navigator, intellect, and Arioi was on board. Tupaia’s approach to navigation and mapping was very different to that of the Europeans and the HMS ENDEAVOUR crew were not able to appreciate this other way of looking at the world, which led to many misunderstandings.


Tuia 250: Polishing the bones

Exploring responses from those working with the Tuia 250 kaupapa - including the spiritual, artistic and professional perspectives.

Listen now



Nikau Gabrielle Hindin

Since 2013 Nikau has been working with aute and researching Māori techniques around tapa or bark cloth. She has recently returned to Aotearoa from Hawai’i where she was learning about customary kapa making techniques and materials. Nikau also recently participated in an ocean voyage on Haunui waka. This experience helped advance her knowledge of Pacific navigation, as she experienced the ocean surging beneath her and used the stars as tohu, markers for direction. She could see the land moving and these voyaging experiences inform her works.


  • The Truth Will Guide the Way, 2020. The Big Idea. Read more

  • Te Kiri o Tāne – a journey of rediscovery, 2017. RNZ. Read more

  • Crafting Aotearoa: The Ancestry of Te Aute, 2019. E Tangata. Read more


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