Since 1984: He aha te ahurea-rua? 


Waikare Komene, Johnson Witehira, Tanya Ruka, Rik Wilson, Elisapeta Heta, Sarah Hudson,

Will Ngakuru, Ammon Ngakuru, Rangituhia Hollis, Jeremy Leatinu'u.


Curated by Martin Awa Clarke Langdon




ST PAUL St Gallery One
Opening 5.30pm Thursday 16 April

17 April – 22 May 2015


Since 1984: He aha te ahurea-rua? brings together artists from the ‘kohunga reo generation’ – to which curator Martin Awa Clarke Langdon also belongs – 30 years on. Acknowledging events of the 80s (including the monumental impact of the internationally touring exhibition Te Māori) that lead to prioritisation of mātauranga Māori within New Zealand education systems, it asks: How has the institutionalisation of biculturalism informed and affected Māori artists emerging from such systems? The exhibition includes a range of practices that engage with the ambitions and complications of the term ‘biculturalism’; the artwork and positions advocated for are as diverse and wide ranging as the artists’ backgrounds and levels of affiliation.  


Taking its cue from one of the works in the exhibition, Elisapeta Heta’s Noho Symposium, pivots on the practice of wānanga. Here wānanga is understood through the application and understanding of tikanga both in its formal and functional role within the New Zealand education system and conceptually: as an open discussion to arrive at shared understanding. Heta’s work will provide the occasion for a full weekend of korero among invited participants.


For up to date information, please visit our FaceBook event page



The Custom of the Sea

Richard Lewer

ST PAUL St Gallery Two 

17 April - 22 May 2015

Opening 5.30pm 16 April


Richard Lewer The Custom of the Sea (animation still) 2015 


Faced with a life or death choice, what would you do? Until we find ourselves in such a situation we can't be sure what lengths we’d go to in order to stay alive. 


There are many stories of survival in human history and many of them come from situations at sea. Richard Lewer’s The Custom of the Sea is a response to one such story from 1884. It is the true story of four men cast adrift after their yacht the Mignonette was shipwrecked about 1,600 miles from the Cape of Good Hope on the journey from England to Australia. After more than two weeks without food and fresh water, two of the men, Tom Dudley and Edwin Stephens, made the decision to kill and eat the unconscious fourth crew member Richard Parker so that the remaining three might survive. The third crewmember, Edmund Brooks, objected. 


The title of the work comes from a custom said to be in operation at sea. In a shipwreck it is deemed acceptable for those shipwrecked to draw lots to see who will be killed and eaten so that the others may survive. It is hard to imagine that this situation was common enough at the time to become an accepted practice with its own rules. In fact the shipwrecked men from the Mingonette didn't even follow this custom of drawing straws, but as Parker was already ill they made the decision to go ahead and kill and eat him.



Lewer is interested in situations of intense personal struggle and the moral choices involved in what people will do to survive. In working with true stories of struggle and crime Lewer positions himself as a social realist artist. His work The Custom of the Sea for ST PAUL St is a large-scale wall drawing rendered with help from a group of volunteers. Lewer works with volunteers to achieve the scale within a limited time, but he is also interested in the social aspect of working with others to realise these large-scale projects. The activity of working together over several days is also a bonding exercise, and the chance to share technical skills. The final work presents a dark subject in a beautifully rendered soft and dense charcoal that creates a powerful experience for viewers.

For more upto date information, please visit the FaceBook event page.
Richard Lewer The Custom of the Sea 2015, charcoal on wall, work in progress at ST PAUL St, AUT

Richard Lewer The Custom of the Sea 2015, charcoal on wall, work in progress at ST PAUL St, AUT


feed-image Feed Entries

Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand | Private Bag 92006 Auckland 1142 New Zealand | Copyright © 2009 Logo