A Massive museum experience

Massive Theatre Company’s South and Central ensembles are part of Auckland Museum’s Urbanlife project which aims to give youth a platform to express their views on the city they live in. The issue the Massive group is looking at is economic wellbeing – an issue that confronts a lot of people working in the creative arts. This is their account of the Urbanlife process which they began in April 2012.

At the start of the process we spent hours looking at the museum collections and used photos from the museum’s pictorial collections to spark inspiration, including the work of two female photographers Margaret Matilda White and Una Garlick.


Margaret Matilda White's image - Nurses with Mr Hodson smoking in the garden at Auckland Private Hospital 1890s

Margaret Matilda White's image - Nurses with Mr Hodson smoking in the garden at Auckland Private Hospital 1890s

Margaret Matilda White's image - Three nurses on bicycles at the Auckland Private Hospital, 1890s

Margaret Matilda White's image - Three nurses on bicycles at the Auckland Private Hospital, 1890s

Looking at these images and talking about these female photographers lead us to think about the sort of expectations that were placed on women at the time – the fact they were expected to give up their passions like photography to settle down and look after their families.

Una Garlick's image - Una Garlick's image Rangitoto from Mission Bay. Large pine trees on the beach at Mission Bay, with man in hat walking past park bench. Panorama of Rangitoto in background.

Una Garlick's image - Una Garlick's image Rangitoto from Mission Bay. Large pine trees on the beach at Mission Bay, with man in hat walking past park bench. Panorama of Rangitoto in background.

We also took inspiration from important figures of history in the museum like Sir Ed Hillary. We thought about his struggles and used those as inspiration to talk about the struggles in our own lives and the lives of our family to do with our economic wellbeing and the fight to meet our needs and wants.

Bula performs his piece inspired by Sir Ed's story during Massive Company's Urbanlife performance at Mangere Arts Centre

Bula performs his piece inspired by Sir Ed's story during Massive Company's Urbanlife performance at Mangere Arts Centre

As we left one of the early workshop sessions at the museum Bethany Edmunds who heads up the Urbanlife project said: “Stories exist here at the museum, it’s just a matter of unlocking them and letting them live and come alive.” It’s a very potent statement and a great overall idea. The museum is the natural home of inspiration and stories and that’s a great thing to introduce young theatre groups to as they learn about storytelling and finding their voice.

Massive Central during a research visit to Auckland Museum

Massive Central during a research visit to Auckland MuseumExhibition Developer Janneen Love sharing the stories and history of Auckland Museum's collections with Massive Central

Massive South taking inspiration from Auckland Museum's WWI Sanctuary - a memorial to the lives lost and the sacrifices of war

Massive South taking inspiration from Auckland Museum's WWI Sanctuary - a memorial to the lives lost and the sacrifices of warWWI Sanctuary

On leaving one of those sessions we all talked about how we were feeling and what ideas the visit had sparked – some of the words we used were: aware, inspired, overwhelmed, full, different ideas about how to tell my story, women in a man’s world, Maori spirituality, passion, looking forward, new feeling about how important the Museum is, emotion and detail in art and photography, openness to growing, branches going off in different directions, excited to jam the stories and start playing, learnt so much, sense of knowledge and taking advantage of that, history, energy behind the objects, intrigued by the war section and women in the war, connection to non-human objects and stories, 1000 ideas.

Shaun (who guided us through the pictorial collection) and Janneen (exhibition developer) were really amazing with sharing their knowledge and skills. Janneen had so many stories to tell everyone about particular areas, people and exhibits and she really made the museum come alive. In my group I know both the library and then going around the museum was so stimulating for everyone.

We also spent time exploring the museum’s galleries and seeing which spaces resonate with the stories we’re trying to tell through our theatre pieces.

Exploring the museum's galleries and spaces ahead of the live performance

Exploring the museum's galleries and spaces ahead of the live performance

Rehearsing ahead of the Massive performances in the museum

Rehearsing ahead of the Massive performances in the museum

It was incredible going from flooking through the collections, galleries and spaces to drawing together the ideas and creating our own stories and transforming that into our devised theatre pieces.

The live performances in the museum and Mangere Arts Centre were a buzz – seeing people react to what we had created and the stories we were telling was a great feeling.

Massive South's performance at the Mangere Arts Centre

Massive South's performance at the Mangere Arts Centre

It’s great to think our stories are now being told inside Auckland Museum. We’re coming back to give more live performances in November (Sunday 18 November – Devised Theatre with Massive Company at 11AM, 1PM, 3PM – meet in the Grand Foyer) and then we will have come full circle.

Navigating Spaces – tapa inspired poetry

Kia ora, Talofa lava, Bula Vinaka, Malo e Lelei and many other Pacific greetings, my name is Arizona Leger and I am one of the many youth taking part in the Urbanlife project. Over the last few months I have been involved in the Culture stream – finding a way to express our voice on cultural issues in Tamaki Makaurau, our city of sails. We chose to voice our opinions through Spoken Word under the guidance and wisdom of our mentor Grace Taylor.

Beginning of our journey

We started off with a workshop which saw four of us attend the HOME AKL exhibition out at Auckland Art Gallery (which is a must see!) and then off to the museum to find ourselves head high in the archives, the stories of our ancestors began to retell themselves from day one.

Exploring the HOME AKL exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery

The HOME AKL exhibition was a real eye opener towards the various styles our Polynesian artists portray what they saw Auckland to be. It helped get our creative juices flowing in terms of how we could voice our opinions by giving them originality and a trademark that allowed us to claim our poems as our own.

Searching for inspiration through the Auckland Museum archives

The collections at the museum helped us to consider the content of what we were going to write. We sat there inspired by each art piece to help retell the story of their culture.

Working alongside Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh

Working with Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh then helped us to sift through our ideas from both HOME AKL and the Museum Collections and craft them into a written performance piece. With all this done in a day it stood as a very beneficial stepping stone, giving us confidence to go away and work on pieces by ourselves created through the content we had been given and the skills we had been taught.

Observing people performing their crafted piece

The completion of the workshop then saw us begin our weekly writing workshops where our collective would meet up at Youthline Manukau to begin drafting our piece. These workshops were very productive and the pieces that were coming together continued to drop jaws and water eyes every week. We were visited again by Dr Marsh and later down the line by Luka Lesson. Selinas second visit saw us learning to get messages across without having to say it word for word, we were introduced to the art of Metaphors.

Luka Lesson Australian slam poetry champ

Luka Lesson acted as our performance coach, teaching us various ways to strengthen our performance through dynamics of speed, tone and emotion. Both guests were valuable contribution towards the final pieces we now have produced.

Grace Taylor- The amazing mentor who lead the journey

With Grace there to provide great ideas and advice was crucial towards making our stream successful and she continued to encourage us to better our pieces in all aspects possible. By the final week, Navigating Spaces had nine finished pieces ready to be filmed and presented for the Urbanlife exhibition.

Inspired by the story of our ancestors through tapa

We spent one session under the lights working alongside Peter Lee, our fantastic cameraman, in attempt to produce a piece that would represent our months’ worth of hard work. The filming process came across as daunting to some but the feeling that our message was finally going to be heard by the people of Auckland overwhelmed that fear by far.

Performing our final pieces (some bravely performed two!) for the community at Youthline Manukau, we are Navigating Spaces. The vibe gathered from the audience was very rewarding and the feedback inspired us to want to continue to write and fight for our message to be heard.


The crew enjoying the community showcase

“As we embark upon this journey, we know we are not alone.
We are Navigating Spaces, shining the light on what we call home.”

Arizona Leger

Te Korowai youth document their journey to a stronger future

The Museum’s pictorial collection and recent exhibition of wildlife photography was the basis for the young Māori men in the Te Korowai programme to explore what education means for those who have slipped through the gaps. The three participants – Chris K, Edmond A and Cory R – write about their experience with photographer Te Rawhitiroa Bosch and present a selection of their photos.

After an introduction day with Te Rawhitiroa, where we saw some of his photos and learnt how to use a camera, we went to the museum for an intro into the Urbanlife project. We were up in the library looking at the historical photos, and went into the freezer to check out photos from 100 years ago.

I thought I’d only see photos of old people, but instead I saw photos of gangs and other stuff. I felt privileged that we got to go where people don’t usually get to go and felt cool to be in the cool store.

I saw a mean underwater photo of a bear catching a fish in the water in the Wildlife exhibition. This made me wonder about how the photographers got so close to the animals.

Exploring Old Time Photos

Looking to the Past

Expert Session with Siliga

Laxin at the Museum

Observing closely

The school system failed me as I was excluded in the first year of college. I learnt to move on and try again. I reckon school is a good place to achieve greatness. Education in mainstream wasn’t the place for me, cos I’d rather go tag walls, which wasn’t good but in a way has ended me in a good place.

Now I’m self educated and I’ve learnt from my experience about how to use different colours, highlights etc, now it’s Art not Crime for me. I wanna be the NZ version of Banksy.

Day1 With Cameras

Artistic Eye

The Boys

Night Shoot

Flying High

The workshops were very helpful as I learnt how to operate a DSLR camera. I’m glad Te Rawhitiroa explained the process in a way that I understood. I’ve learnt how to take photos better, learnt about different perspectives and how to frame a shot, and I learnt how to slow the shutter speed and we painted with lights at night in Auckland City. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this but after hanging out with Te Rawhitiroa it become tu meke!!

Professional Shoot

Reflecting on Experience

Te Korowai Urbanlife Crew

Painting with Light

Looking to the Future

‘No matter where you’re educated it might be school, home, course, prison or anywhere else – there is always a chance in life to achieve greatness. All you need is motivation and consistency and you may go far.’ Chris K

When exhibitions and projects collide – meaningful collaborations

In the early planning stages of our recent exhibition Identi-Tee, context and content were being eroded by time, space, and budget – that ever important element of good exhibition planning. Our desire to explain the process of screen printing in a meaningful way came in at the end of the ever-tightening timelines. That was until Urbanlife launched and, our Urbanlife and Identi-Tee worlds collided.

The Youthline Advisory Group were the first intake of Urbanlife participants to be introduced to the museum’s pictorial collections, to spark their thoughts about employment, both historically and in their own current experience. This was followed a week later by a hands on workshop at Artstation, where the youth participants set about turning their concepts and ideas into actual T-shirt statements about youth employment. The Urbanlife participants all a lot ‘cooler’ and younger then moi were tutored and mentored by Siliga David Setoga of Popohardwear, who’s well-known T-shirts featured in our Identi-Tee exhibition. Siliga is deeply passionate about his art practice and equally generous and graceful when tutoring our Urbanlife participants in the finer points of t-shirt printing.

“There are huge barriers that come up for youth looking for employment. There’s a huge issue around confidence, not being brave enough to give things a go, second-guessing and self-doubt, being susceptible to peer pressure. The distrust in institutions and wider society, because they’ve been counted out at the beginning, they are carrying the chip of being untrustworthy, slackers, so it’s just those bags that weigh them down before they even get started.” Siliga Setoga.

Screen printing at Artstation

Screen printing at Artstation

Screen printing at Artstation

Screen printing at Artstation

The creative process.

The creative process.

“Experiences, qualifications, references, chances, transport, support, pressure, distractions, skills, confidence….”

“I’m not them, see me as me and guide me away from poverty with a chance”

The following images provide a sneak peek into the Urbanlife project and go a little way in explaining how to set your own screens ‘Siliga style’. Check out this sequence to see how ideas become T-shirts.

Hopes T-shirt: ‘Will work for peanuts’

Victors T-shirt: ‘How AM I MEANt TO get experience if YOU won’t give me the chance?’

Uzair’s T-shirt: ‘The poor dream rich’

Liam’s T-shirt: ‘Aspire to do better… Nek Minit!’

“The Youth Advisory Group for Youthline is for 16-19 year olds, and was set up so that we can ask young people how they want us to work with them, targeting young people who were still at school, or sitting at home, or at university. In regards to the T-shirts they have really enjoyed being able to be creative and to make something of themselves. When we sat in the museum and looked at all the different books and newspaper articles, it was really interesting to see the young people years ago were doing the same thing as they are doing now, slightly different scale but very similar stuff.” Melodie McDonald-senior youth worker, Youthline.

Melodie’s T-shirt: ‘Old people retire so young people can start their journeys’

October 29, 2012

Posted by:

Niko Meredith

All, Learning, Urbanlife


IamGI give voice to their community through the Urbanlife Soundscape

Niko Meredith gives us an insight on IamGI’s journey as they explore both positive and negative aspects of housing redevelopment plans in their neighbourhood of Glen Innes, Auckland. GI youth have collaborated with Auckland Museum and music producer Anonymouz to create a unique soundscape that gives voice to the community from an urban youth perspective.

The Tamaki transformation project was supposed to the beginning of the urban renewal of the Tamaki area, and with it a promise of a brighter future for everyone. This optimism soon turned to anger following the discovery of the removal of state homes. Due to the lack of community consultation and the rapid ‘execution’ of the removals, the community took action.

GI community and supporters stand up and fight back.

GI is not for sale!

When we visited the Museum we found out about the urbanization of New Zealand. We learnt that increasing building costs led to the National government lowering state housing standards in the 1950’s. This eventually created the ‘ghetto communities’ (Glen Innes & South Auckland) which the government wanted to avoid. The pictorial archives of state housing in Glen Innes during the 1950s also illustrated that gentrification is not a new concept.

Practicing with the recording equipment before we explore the sounds and voices of GI.

Looking through the Museum’s pictorial archives.

Here’s a group shot of us during one of our visits to the Auckland Museum.

Armed with recording equipment we set out to capture the essence and soul of Glen Innes. Through our recordings we soon realized how close-knit our community is. Glen Innes is a place where people take pride in belonging to the community.

While interviewing local residents about the housing situation I was surprised at how ill informed and unaware they were of what is going on in their own backyards.

We revealed the diverse and contrasting opinions about the complicated housing situation in Glen Innes.

Thanks to the Meke Waka bus we got to head out together to explore our hood.

Exploring nature sounds at Point England Reserve.

Recording local residents in GI.

A few of the boys recording more sounds.

Everybody knows Taniwha Street!

The sad reality of many empty properties in Glen Innes. Houses are vanishing fast along with the families that once occupied these homes, only memories remain.

Gifted Hip Hop producer Matt Salapu (Anonymouz) took on the task of channeling our thoughts and opinions in a creative way through sound. During the workshop we were fortunate enough to have local guest speakers such as Thom Nepia (from the legendary Herbs) and Nelza and Outloc (from Hu Run It Productions). With the sounds we captured from the community we fine tuned the direction of the project and began piecing together the community’s voice through a youth perspective.

Special Thanks to the Museum staff and PACIFICA Women’s Tamaki branch who provided food during the workshops.

Our first day at the beautiful Ruapotaka Marae.


Breaking for lunch before we get back into it.

Matt introduces Thom Nepia from Herbs who gave us inspirational words of wisdom.

Discovering the technical side of recording sound.

Learning how to play pacific instruments with the master Ma’ara.

After months of hard work on the soundscape the project is finally taking form. This is one the most exciting projects I’ve been apart of. What’s even more exciting is this project will be showcased at the Museum capturing historical issues at a national and local level.

This has been a unique opportunity for us to have a voice and platform for social issues that affect communities facing change. The soundscape captures a snapshot of the impact of urban development in Tamaki. What I have learnt is that change is certain but we can influence the outcome.

Group shot at Ruapotaka Marae.

Collections to inspire

A new direction for the museum, Urbanlife is a project that aims to support Auckland youth by providing inspiration for artistic expression in a range of different media.

We shared our pictorial collections with six different youth groups from around Auckland city. We asked them to explore six major issues facing our communities – Education, Employment, Environment, Housing, Economic Wellbeing and Culture.

Join Shaun Higgins, Auckland Museum’s pictorial librarian, as he talks about the process of introducing these youth groups to our collections.


After a morning at Orakei marae, a group of Ngati Whatua youth came to see the collections with their tutor Darryl Thomson. Their brief was to create a mural response to the local environment, particularly through the eyes of Tangata Whenua. I started the research visit with a personal favourite, a photograph taken by Una Garlick looking out to Rangitoto from the then open Orakei hillside with two tī (or cabbage trees).

We then moved on to the Banks Florilegium, a beautiful series of botanical prints taken from plates produced by Banks and Solander during Cook’s 18th century voyage in the Pacific. The group was interested in finding examples of specimens relating to familiar plants.

Another concept which we explored was the treatment of Maori as part of the environment. Early photography such the work of Arthur Isles presents a number of unidentified Maori sitters in styles which can be contrasted against typical Victorian portraiture.

Garlick, Una. (1920s) Rangitoto. Auckland Museum call no. DU436.1211 G233.

Garlick, Una. (1920s) Rangitoto. Auckland Museum call no. DU436.1211 G233.

Parkinson, Sydney (1770) Entella Arborescens. Auckland Museum call no. Print B218 pl418.

Parkinson, Sydney (1770) Entella Arborescens. Auckland Museum call no. Print B218 pl418.


In size and name, this group was MASSIVE. Guided by Massive Company’s Sam Scott, the group took up the challenge of examining our economic wellbeing and converting these concepts into theatrical themes and characters.

They visited the collections in two waves, taking notes and looking into several photographer’s work and stories in search of roles. The first photographer that attracted their attention was Margaret Matilda White. Her late 19th century work focuses on subjects such as the Avondale Asylum, looking at the nurses and orderlies that worked there in a playful style, casting them and the grounds of the hospital in a completely different light. We discussed how a woman trying to become a photographer would have struggled in a male dominated society. White found freedom in areas that others avoided and showed us glimpses into everyday life. Another series by White looks at the miners in Karangahake Gorge (sadly only briefly as she died not long after from tetanus).

The other photographer we looked at was Una Garlick, who documented the famous ‘last pioneer’ of Remuera in the 1930s. Garlick was part of the pictorialist movement, using soft focus and a range of finishes to show her view of the world.

“]White, Margaret Matilda. (1890s) [Group of female assistants, Auckland Mental Hospital]. Auckland Museum neg. B3486.

White, Margaret Matilda. (1890s) [Auckland Mental Hospital. Auckland Museum neg. B3486."

Garlick, Una. (1920s) "The Pioneer". Auckland Museum call no. TR650 G233.

Garlick, Una. (1920s) "The Pioneer". Auckland Museum call no. TR650 G233.


Working with photographer Te Rawhitiroa Bosch and participants from the Te Korowai programme a small group of young Maori men set out to cover the topic of Education and the opportunities and barriers it presents for them in a documentary style of photography. Image research focused on schools and gangs.

The late documentary photographer Robin Morrison covered the latter in black and white with images of the ‘Stormtroopers’ and ‘Highway 61’. The style of photography seen in this collection is just as important as the subject, as it offers insights into the practice of documentary through the still image.

The group were also inspired  by the Wildlife exhibition currently on show at the museum, with a first-hand look at how photographers compose their images and think about the environment around them. They discovered how some leave the subject to chance, while others deliberately go hunting, looking for just the right moment with just the right light.

“] Morrison, Robin. (1970s) [Highway 61 house]. Auckland Museum neg. RMN2-1.

Morrison, Robin. (1970s) [Highway 61 house. Auckland Museum neg. RMN2-1.


The last research visit was a group of Polynesian youth called Navigating Spaces and led by Grace Taylor of the South Auckland Poets Collective. The theme that this group will express through Spoken Word Poetry is culture, and identity, and their research visit paid special attention to migration in the Pacific.

Before opening up the collections I paused to admire the closed tapa album covers. Inside we explored photographs from Samoa during the 19th century. Another album looked at the early 20th century in contrast and finally the group was drawn to the work of Noelle Sandwith, who painted in Tonga during the 1950s. Two of her paintings had particularly strong reactions; one of life on board a ship full of people travelling, perhaps eventually to New Zealand, and a scene of a group of women inside a fale, titled The “bongibongi”. This one had a silence to it, as if the viewer felt compelled to listen to them.

Many of the works reminded us of the traditions and lifestyles that are still very much part of who we are.

Sandwith, Noelle. (ca. 1954) Sailing to Vava'u aboard the Tongan Government ketch Aoniu. Auckland Museum call no. PC51(1).

Sandwith, Noelle. (ca. 1954) Sailing to Vava'u aboard the Tongan Government ketch Aoniu. Auckland Museum call no. PC51(1).

Sandwith, Noelle. (1954) The "bongibongi". Auckland Museum call no. PA36(6).

Sandwith, Noelle. (1954) The "bongibongi". Auckland Museum call no. PA36(6).


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but what sound does it make? ‘I am GI youth’ were invited to view images of housing from the collection as inspiration for the creation of a soundscape guided by Hip Hop producer Anonymouz.

I chose to immerse the group in our negative collection using a loupe (magnifier) to view the images on a lightbox. I call this the spacewalk experience as you really feel like you are there in the picture.

The New Zealand Herald and Sparrow Industrial Photography collections provide examples of early 50s and 60s state housing in Auckland. The aerial shots from The New Zealand Herald show large sprawling areas of housing following two or three regularly repeated patterns. On the ground again, Sparrow offers street scenes of the newly opened areas. The group joked that it looked like a tv commercial, which is probably not far from the truth.

To contrast the black-and-white-world presented from the outside, we looked at Mark Adam’s striking photograph of Samoan tattooist Tufuga Ta Tatau at work in a Glenn Innes state house.

N.Z. Herald. (1950s) State housing. Auckland Museum neg. H1048.

N.Z. Herald. (1950s) State housing. Auckland Museum neg. H1048.

Adams, Mark. (1982) Farringdon Street, Glenn Innes, Auckland. Auckland Museum call no. TR650 A215.

Adams, Mark. (1982) Farringdon Street, Glenn Innes, Auckland. Auckland Museum call no. TR650 A215.


Following hot on the heels of our Identi-Tee exhibition, we introduced the Youthline Central Advisory Group to the world of screen printing under the guidance of Siliga David Setoga.

We examined posters and photograph collections as inspiration for slogans, words and imagery to address youth employment, that can be translated onto media such as t-shirts. Newspaper images from the Weekly News covering decades of workers helped provide a feel for issues of the 1920s-1950s, while some of Robin Morrison’s photography such as the Ponsonby Road series gave a glimpse at the more recent past and the diverse range of occupations people had adopted. This 1917 example from our poster collection shows a clever mixed message.

Christy, Howard Chandler. (1917) I want you for the Navy. Auckland Museum call no. PT(id6835).

Christy, Howard Chandler. (1917) I want you for the Navy. Auckland Museum call no. PT(id6835).

Morrison, Robin. (1977) Ponsonby Businesses, Tony Burrows. Auckland Museum call no. CAL213-Jan.

Morrison, Robin. (1977) Ponsonby Businesses, Tony Burrows. Auckland Museum call no. CAL213-Jan.

Graff murals and Urbanlife in Orakei and beyond

Graff art under Mangere Bridge

Graff art under Mangere Bridge

E ngā mana e ngā reo e ngā mātāwaka o te motu, tēna koutou katoa.

Ko Maungakiekie te maunga

Ko Waitemata te moana

Ko Mahuhu ki te Rangi te waka

Ko Ngati Whatua te Iwi

Ko Te taou, ko Te Uringutu, ko Nga Oho nga hapu

Ko Orakei te Marae

Ko Puketapapa te maunga

Ko Manuka o Hoturoa te moana

Ko Tainui te waka

Ko Waikato te Iwi

Ko Te Waiohua, Ko Ngati Mahanga nga hapu

Ko Makarau Ko Pukaki nga Marae

Ko Hana Maihi toku ingoa

Hana Maihi

Hana Maihi

Kia ora koutou, my name is Hana Maihi and I’m taking part in the the Urbanlife project. Over the last month Ngati Whatua Rangatahi have been getting stuck into the graff-mural project as the “Environment” stream of Urbanlife – finding a way to express our voice on environmental issues in Tamaki Makaurau. What an awesome first phase workshop it was too!  In between soaking up the Museum’s special collections, our korero with Darryl and Lui and visits to the graff-murals in Ponsonby and Mangere bridge, we got to mahi in Orakei to translate our ideas to sketch books and concrete walls.

The Urbanlife "Environment" group at Orakei

The Urbanlife "Environment" group at Orakei

Beginning with a tour of the gun emplacements, we were fortunate to have the great minds of Darryl and Lui to inspire us with knowledge of the whenua and rakau.

Lui explaining the benefits of plants

Lui explaining the benefits of plants

Lui explaining the benefits of plants. Kawakawa is known for its cleansing properties and was traditionally a plant used for embalming.

DLT's pep talk: It won't happen overnight

DLT's pep talk: It won't happen overnight

DLT’s pep talk: We won’t be overnight Banksy’s but we can work with stencilling and free-hand spray-can work to create some awesome pieces.

Hikoi around Takaparawhau

Hikoi around Takaparawhau

A great day for a hikoi around Takaparawhau, a chance to soak up inspiration from the beautiful whenua and flora around us.

Lui talking about the whakapapa of whau

Lui talking about the whakapapa of whau

Lui talking about the whakapapa of whau, a tree that Rangatira of Ngati Whatua were previously buried underneath in the CBD. To make way for urban development, clippings were taken from this tree so it could be relocated along the motorway.

Looking at Banks florilegium and Arthur Isles photography in the museum library

Looking at Banks florilegium and Arthur Isles photography in the museum library

Looking through the Auckland Museum Collections: Banks florilegium and Arthur Isles photography .

The whau plant in the Banks florilegium collection

The whau plant in the Banks florilegium collection

A drawing of the whau plant in the Banks florilegium collection.

Inside the museum's pictorial collections: a photo from the Bastion Point, Takaparawhau occupation

Inside the museum's pictorial collections: a photo from the Bastion Point, Takaparawhau occupation

Iconic photo from the Bastion Point, Takaparawhau occupation (from the Arthur Isles photography Collection) We wouldn’t have the land we have today if it wasn’t for Ngati Whatua tupuna.

Taking inspiration from DLT's previous graff art project at Orakei

Taking inspiration from DLT's previous graff art project at Orakei

Looking at DLT’s previous graff art project at Orakei gun emplacement.

DLT's graff art project under Mangere Bridge

More inspiration: DLT's graff art project under Mangere Bridge

DLT’s graff mural under Mangere Bridge. Tumeke skills! Check it out if you haven’t already. Darryl touched on the role of graff art in communites: particularly in the way that it can sometimes be the main form of self-expression and release for rangitahi. It’s awesome to be a part of a project that’s trying to change the stigma associated with tagging and graff-art and show that it can be positive art form within a community.

Graff art in Ponsonby

Graff art in Ponsonby

Stopped by Ponsonby to check out some Fresh Graffiti art. An awesome mix of cultures and patterns on the one wall.

Tumeke graff art in progress

Tumeke graff art in progress

Stumbled across some tumeke wall pieces. Taking tips from the pro’s at work, they showed us how it’s done.

Putting everything we've learned into practise

Putting everything we've learned into practise

Translating inspiration into sketches and stencils for some graff-art practise.

On our third day we tapped into our inner Picasso and finally hit the walls for some can practise up at Takaparawhau. Time to put our stencils to the test. It was much harder than it looked, but it was a lot of fun once you got the hang of it.

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau

We discovered it's much harder than it looks

We discovered it's much harder than it looks

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau II

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau II

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau III

Applying our burgeoning graff art skills up at Takaparawhau III

I can’t wait for the next workshop. It’s going to be an exciting challenge to fit our ideas and designs into three panels, but with Darryl’s guidance it should be a blast.

Urbanlife: Youth Connections, Collections and Community in Tamaki Makaurau

In 2012, Urbanlife is taking Auckland Museum beyond its walls and out into urban communities to activate rangatahi responses, giving them tools to effectively inform positive development in Auckland City’s urban landscape; and develop their perspectives and creative solutions towards Auckland city being “the most liveable city” for youth.
On April 19th we were excited to launch this kaupapa and privileged to host our first wave of youth participants, and the talented and dedicated artist mentors who will be facilitating workshops to produce multi-disciplinary creative responses to youth issues, and encouraging our rangatahi to think about possibilities for their future

This initiative aims to foster tuakana/teina relationships between museum staff, youth mentors and established artists; and young people in the greater Tamaki Makaurau region. The project will explore nine threads over two years, represented by rangatahi from unique pockets of demographic, geographic and creative output, allowing participants to develop their identity, strengthen existing and new relationships, and build skills and talents.

Starting with our Pictorial Collections as a source point of inspiration, a lens to make connections to rest of the collections, we hope to create opportunities for youth of descendent communities to make visual connections to taonga and heritage treasures housed at the museum.

The projects so far…

Banks florilegium and Arthur Isles photography – Ngati Whatua rangatahi – Environment – Graff-mural – Aotearoa hip-hop pioneer DLT (Darryl Thompson)

DLT and CHE FU – Chains

Early maps, tapa and masi patterns, and Noele Sandwith sketches – South Auckland youth – Culture – Spoken word – South Auckland Poets Collective founding member Grace Taylor

FRESH: Brown and Around – South Auckland Poets Collective

Robin Morrison Collection and whakapapa records – Te Korowai youth from West Auckland – Education – Documentary Photography – Photographer Te Rawhitiroa Bosch

Smart Thinker: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch

Weekly News archive and the Identi-Tee exhibition – Central Auckland Youthline advisory group – Employment – Screen-print t-shirts – Popohardwear’s Siliga David Setonga

Siliga Setoga Creative Native FRESH 11 Feb 2012

Gallery spaces and feminist photographers Margaret Matilda White and Una Garlick – Massive Company’s Central and South ensembles – Economic Well-being – Devised theatre techniques – Massive mentors and tutors

THE BRAVE – Week 3: \”Who would you write a letter to?\”

The Herald and the Sparrow photographic collections – I AM GI youth – Housing – Soundscape – Hip hop producer Anonymouz

ANONYMOUZ Showreel 2010

KRS-ONE and the Temple of Hip Hop comes to heaven (in Aotearoa)

'Scholarly work' Photo by Ekaterina Chernova

Last Sunday we were privileged to welcome one of the world’s Hip Hop icons into the Events Centre here at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. When I mentioned that we had honoured veterans of War earlier that morning he said, well now you have another veteran in the building. I began my introduction with a whakatauki ‘Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nona te ngahere, ko te manu e kai ana i te matauranga, nona te ao’ ‘The bird that eats the miro berries his realm is the forest, the bird who seeks knowledge has access to the world’ I thought this was appropriate in light of the philosophies that KRS ONE aka ‘the teacha’ shared with a captivated crowd of over 500 dedicated hiphoppa’s.

KRS ONE an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone evidences his passion to spread awareness about the fundamentals of Hiphop, appropriately (in light of our Identi-Tee exhibition) using his t-shirt as a black board to describe Hiphop as a consciousness, Hip Hop the culture, and hip-hop the music and product that spreads the word.

'Hip Hop is culture' Photo by Ekaterina Chernova

‘Every culture produces its own “keeper”. Every culture produces its own principles, its own history, its own advocates, and its own prophet pointing the way to a higher quality of life. For the urban-street culture known in the world today as “Hip Hop”, KRS-One is all of the above. Appearing on the rap scene in 1986 as Boogie Down Productions releasing his first hit single “South Bronx” with the late DJ Scott La Rock, KRS “the one” made it clear that he was “the teacha”.’

It’s been a pretty epic week since last Thursday when we welcomed our first group of youth participants into the building for Urbanlife, which also opened the doors to this opportunity to host KRS-ONE, thank you to Aotearoa’s own godfather of Hiphop DLT (Darryl Thomson) for making the call, and to the promoters and all the museum staff who took a proactive approach towards reaching out to a younger generation and new diverse audiences. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me as an MC, and the culmination of years of active involvement in Hiphop culture, the responses that I have had from people out in the wider community have been only positive, grateful and congratulatory that we jumped on the chance and were bold enough to provide a comfortable space for this event to occur.

'Hiphop is a conciousness'- Photo by Ekaterina Chernova

“Just To see KRS-One speak was a privilege! A lesson in life, in history and in Hip Hop — in all senses of the term. The standing ovation well deserved. The venue couldn’t have been better. Big thanks Auckland Museum for your last-minute magic!”

(Facebook comment)

KRS ONE himself praised the Museum for being bold enough to acknowledge the relevance of Hiphop and the knowledge he had to share from moments and major players in social and political American history to honouring women and the single mothers who have supported and enabled their sons and daughters to step forth and build the phenomenon that is Hiphop as we know it today.

‘If I can say a heartfelt thanks to this museum, if you talk about the preservation of Hiphop this is the first museum in the world to host an event like this. Let this be a message to all other museums that can’t find time for Hiphop in its institution, don’t wanna do the scholarly work to understand Hiphop. There’s a lot museums around we know, and I’m talking about really the museums in the United States is what I’m saying, because it’s a shame, I would never be invited to a museum of this stature in the United States, imagine… I would never be invited they have no time for me, they have no respect for what we do, this is America where Hiphop started, and this is how we are treated… then I come to heaven… Aotearoa……’ KRS ONE

'The teacha speaks'- Photo by Ekaterina Chernova

For those of you who want more teachings check out www.TempleofHipHop.org and don’t forget May is NZ Music month so get out and show some love at upcoming gigs and buy some NZ Hiphop! KRS ONE also asked that I mention Hiphop appreciation week so here it is …May 14th-21st
Massive shout outs to DLT, Teremoana, King Kapisi, Che Fu, Slave, Hype and the Hedlok crew, DJ’s Sirvere and Manuel Bundy …. Nga Remu, JLove, matua Haare and the museum whanau… and Ekaterina Chernova for capturing these beautiful images on the day!

Naku noa na Miss bMe