Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Our place. climate. world.
Through the Eye of the Lens – Te Whanganui-a-Tara
In collaboration with Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, 21 February – 20 March 2022
In the fifth collaboration in the series around Aotearoa New Zealand rangatahi from across Te Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington explored climate change and environmental issues through the lens of a camera.
In collaboration with Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Track Zero worked with five colleges/schools in a series of separate workshops. Students from Bishop Viard College, Naenae College, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna, Wainuiomata High School and Titahi Bay Intermediate School shared knowledge about climate change and mātauranga Maori and science with Professors James Renwick, Tim Naish and Dr Daniel Hikuroa. They then spent a week learning camera skills and storytelling with professional photographers: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch, Raymond Sagapolutele, Te Kawa Robb and Te Whanganui-a-Tara locals: Chevron Hassett and Virginia Woods-Jack.
Part of the workshops were taught via zoom by Te Rawhitiroa and Raymond due to COVID-19 preventing their travel.
In November 2021, images taken by each group of students and artists were on display in exhibitions presented in their local communities (Naenae Community Library, Pātaka Art + Museum, Wainuiomata Community Hub and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna ).
Powerful statements and images taken from the point of view of the group of rangatahi, as well as a selection of photos from Te Kawa Robb, Virginia Woods-Jack, Chevron Hassett and Raymond Sagapolutele will be on view in a series of exhibitions during the Festival from 21 February – 20 March 2022 and online, here on Track Zero’s website.
Follow us on social media and the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2022 for more detail as this exciting project unfolds.
THROUGH THE EYE OF THE LENS – TE WHANGANUI-A-TARA
21 February – 20 March 2022
IN COLLABORATION WITH:
Wainuiomata High School
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna
Bishop Viard College
Titahi Bay Intermediate School
View Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2022 Programme
Be inspired by the photographs taken and curated by the young artists and photographers, expressing their views about climate change.
Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Students from Naenae College
Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Students from Bishop Viard College
Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Students from Titahi Bay Intermediate School
Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna
Image credit: Te Kawa Robb
Students from Wainuiomata High School
for support towards camera equipment
‘For me Track Zero was the manifestation of a traditional Māori cultural philosophy and practise of Tuakana-Teina, where the photographers mentored and supported the rangatahi to learn new skills and then to use these new skills to tell stories through the lens of a camera.’
‘Photography is an exciting and powerful medium to engage young people on climate change. Selecting their own photos for the exhibition and the significant mana from seeing their work presented alongside established photographers lifted the kids up so they felt heard and their ideas valued. It was a big deal for schools to participate as they seldom have access to opportunities like this and a privilege to be able to offer Te Reo Māori for a kura. The hands-on project enabled the Festival to build meaningful new relationships and to localise the art experience in their local community spaces, leaving a lasting impression.’
‘The project influenced our student’s life journey, looking at things from a different perspective, using the camera to be expressive, but also to generate awareness. Our students have been given a tool and a new mindset – something real to them instead of information just handed to them. They now have a place to advocate from. It was a privilege to be taught by extraordinary role models who are influential people in science and art. This opportunity has empowered our students to see that they can be influential people too; a profound experience for our kids. They’re walking away with new perspectives, skill sets and a different appreciation for art and how they can be change agents for our climate.’
‘I loved learning about the angles of photos and telling a story about the photo. I liked learning how much the sea level will rise. Climate change is science and is more than picking up rubbish.’
‘This project strengthened the journey the kids are on learning about their identity and culture. The learning was localised to their community and area where they live so it was interesting and relevant. They truly grasped the climate science in the end because they realised it’s there in their face – it’s our beaches, walkways, all around us. The kids were proud to see their photos exhibited alongside artists and so were their families and the College. It really left a deep impression.’
‘It was very life changing and very fascinating. I actually liked that we got to learn more about changes happening to our earth because of us right now.’
‘Young people and their ideas need nurturing. Working with expert scientists and artists enhanced their ability to capture what they want to communicate and opened their eyes to climate change. The artists made them feel safe and encouraged them to be creative. The kids were buzzing trying new things. A highlight was they got to see their work in an exhibition alongside professional artists.’
‘Really enjoyed this project. Really interesting knowing more about climate change and the solutions.’
‘Student’s ideas about climate change are very relevent in today’s context. The project gave them an understanding of ‘where’s my place?’ and the professionalism of the project made them feel their voice was heard. The calibre of the exhibition and attention given to the students in the local community gave them a sense of self worth.’
‘I really liked learning to share ideas through the camera for the first time’
‘I liked taking photos of rangi and papatūānuku and the atua of all things.’
Exploring climate science
The five workshops were preceded by an interactive talk called, ‘Ice, Balloons and Zero Carbon: Climate Science Talk’ for the young artists and their families led by expert Climate Scientists, Professors James Renwick, Tim Naish and Dr Daniel Hikuroa.
They then learned about photography and were encouraged to think about how the changing climate is affecting the world they live in.
Climate and the camera
“The power of telling climate stories through a camera lens is that it engages our imagination and connects with people on an emotional level. The science tells us that every tenth of a degree of warming adds to the risks that undermine our way of life. One degree of warming is already giving us more intense extremes, but going beyond two degrees would be very damaging indeed. To halt the warming at no more than 1.5 degrees, we must act now and give it everything we’ve got. We must halve the global emissions of carbon dioxide by 2030 and get to zero by 2050. By sharing ideas, working together and telling stories about the future we want to see, we can do it.”
Climate Science Facts
The atmosphere has more greenhouse gas in it today than it has had for 3 million years.
Half of CO2
Half of all the carbon dioxide humanity has added to the air has been put there since 1990.
Every bit counts
Every 1/10th of a degree of warming adds to the number of extreme heatwaves, floods and droughts. We can make a difference by reducing greenhouse gas – every bit counts.
At 2°C warming, the Great Barrier Reef and all tropical coral reefs worldwide, will be dead. At 1.5°C warming, we may save 20% of the tropical corals.
More than 2°C warming
More than 2 degrees warming will lock in at least 5 metres of sea level rise over the coming centuries. It could be as much as 20 metres rise.
Te Whanganui-a-Tara sea-level rise twice as much as other regions
With 2 degrees warming Te Whanganui-a-Tara becomes even windier, and because much of the region is subsiding due to tectonics, sea-level rise will be twice as much as other parts of Aotearoa New Zealand – at least 1 metre in the next 100 years. That means the Hutt Motorway, trainline and the Eastbourne road will be at risk.
Everyone can make a difference on climate change
By reducing our own carbon footprints and calling on government, business and farming leaders to take action to reduce emissions.
In the first workshops in October 2021, award winning photographers, Te Rawhitiroa Bosch and Te Whanganui-a-Tara locals Chevron Hassett and Te Kawa Robb taught students from Naenae College and Ngā Mokopuna how to become storytellers.
In the second workshops, Auckland-based Raymond Sagapolutele and Te Whanganui-a-Tara locals Virginia Woods-Jack and Te Kawa Robb shared their creative skills with students from Wainuiomata High School and Bishop Viard College.
In early 2022, Titahi Bay Intermediate School students learned to tell climate stories through a camera lens from Raymond Sagapolutele and Te Kawa Robb.
Background image used above – USGS – Earth as Art series 6. ‘Desert Ribbons’
Te Kawa Robb
Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Scottish
Growing up on the wild south coast of Te Whanganui a Tara, Te Kawa started exploring photography with a second-hand film camera in his early teens, documenting the moods and emotions of taiao, the natural environment, around him.
Working with whānau in the community as an educator, it’s the complex and ancestral connection between people and taiao, and the stories and knowledge that are created within spaces of learning, that form the focus of much of Te Kawa’s current work.
Documenting traditional Māori art forms and practices, preserving precious moments of learning and connection, are the legacy that Te Kawa aims to leave for whānau, supporting reclamation of art forms to build intergenerational resilience in response to our changing climate.
Virginia Woods-Jack is a British-born photographic artist, advocate and curator currently living and working in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through her work, she explores her connection to place as a way to consider relationships between the human and more-than-human worlds. By doing so, she aims to understand how memory informs the way we interact with the natural environment to highlight the importance of care in navigating the climate crisis. This being integral to the preservation of the planet.
Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Pākehā (Irish)
Chevron Hassett, born Lower Hutt, Aotearoa (NZ) is an early career artist of Māori and Pākehā heritage. He graduated with a Bachelor of Design with Honours from Massey University in 2017 and was the recipient of the Ngā Manu Pirere award from Creative New Zealand.
Hassett is a visual artist predominantly working in lens-based media, sculpture and public installation. At the heart of his practice is the essential spirit of whanaungatanga, the Māori concept of connecting, building and maintaining relationships within communities. Hassett holistically collaborates with his local communities and peoples, his recent works engage with narratives of socio-cultural identities, urban indigeneity and colonialism within Pacific and indigenous histories.
Recent exhibitions include: Head in the clouds, Artspace, Sydney, 2021; JustUs, Enjoy Gallery, Wellington, 2020; Commoner, St Paul St Gallery, Auckland, 2020; Companions, Pari_Ari Gallery, Sydney, 2020; Strands, The Dowse Museum, Lower Hutt, 2019; Kōhanga, Firstdraft, Sydney, 2019; Visual Arts Residency, Toi Pōneke, Wellington, 2019.
Award winning Aotearoa-born Sāmoan artist, Raymond Sagapolutele says the camera has become a vital part of his ability to reconnect with cultural ties to Pacific history, the land and ocean. Speaking through images gives his visual language a voice – the method that forms his oratory and connects to the Samoan tradition of Fagogo (storytelling).
Te Rawhitiroa Bosch
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Pākehā
Whakapae tonutia kia puta te rā, e kore e ngaro, ā, tau noa ki te moana.
Te Rawhitiroa has spent over a decade working as a professional photographer with a love for photography that is grounded in his passion for capturing moments of connection: people to people, people to place, Pūrākau – storytelling – is one of the most powerful connecting forces in the world. As a photographer Te Rawhitiroa enjoys engaging the power of storytelling; by capturing not only the subject, but also the deeper story, the magic, the heart, the emotion behind each moment to share with others.
With years of experience running youth development programmes nationally and a love for sharing the gifts of learning he has been privileged to have learnt and been taught throughout the years he enjoys working with rangatahi to support them to unleash their potential.
In late 2021 and early 2022, images taken by each group of students and artists were on display in print and digital exhibitions presented in their local communities: Naenae Community Library, Pātaka Art + Museum, Wainuiomata Community Hub and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna.
Image credits: Te Kawa Robb and Sarah Meads