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Blood and Bone

18 October- 11 November 2023

Tania Gibson (Ngāti Te Ra, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Pākehā)

Ati Teepa (Ngāi Tūhoe, Kāi Tahu)

Te Kīra Whakamoe (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāi Ruapani)

Blood and Bone brings together three artists with connections to the Whakatāne District for Wormhole's ninth and final exhibition at Riverslea Mall, Edgecumbe. 


Tania Gibson brings pottery and paintings, Ati Teepa brings words, and Te Kīra Whakamoe brings installation, soil, and movement to the site we have imagined together.


Blood and Bone is located in the pitch black depth of our guts; the hot singed earth and glowing embers of the fire pit; the rich, damp soil of the maara. This is storied dirt. It's decay, but it's life, too.


New roots thread their way through. We stoke the fire. We dissolve. We leave; we return again.

The opening event for this exhibition is on Wednesday 18 October from 6pm. We will begin with poetry from Ati and an artist talk from Te Kīra. Check our What's On page for further information.

Thanks to Whakatāne District's Creative Communities Scheme for supporting the exhibition.



IA: Te Ia o Te Awa - The Essence of The River is part of an ongoing research project that explores notions of fluidity within the context of the awa. Just as a river's current flows and changes direction, speed and density over time, our identities can also evolve, shift, and adapt as we navigate through different experiences and environments. This exhibition explores the interconnectedness of the concept of Ia as both a pronoun and rhythmic beat of flow and current. "Ia" is a te reo Māori kupu and depending on the context, it can be used as a pronoun for she, he, her, him, it, or a noun for current and flow.

The artworks within this show dive into the depths of fluidity, metaphorically moving, swaying, and shifting in sequential movements of a reoccurrence patterning. The “flow” of the awa is a representation of culture that signifies the intergenerational transmission of values, traditions and mātauranga from generation to generation. The flow is symbolically represented in the form of a taniwha that reflects the enduring aspects of our culture and this can be understood through the curves and bends of the sculpture. "Current" is also articulated through the form of a taniwha and symbolizes the dynamic, evolving nature of our identity and is likened to the current of the awa which is always in motion, where our culture adapts, transforms, and sometimes merges with other cultural currents.

The sculptures radiate interconnectedness through the abstract representation of the "current" and “flow” of a river and signify the different cultural and ancestral streams. Some awa often merge and diverge, the same can be said with culture, identity, gender, and ancestries can intersect and influence each other, illustrating the complex interplay of various cultural identity currents. In essence, the concepts of “flow” and “current” can be seen as a philosophical expression of our diverse culture and identity that emphasizes the dynamic and evolving nature of these concepts, highlighting the importance of continuity, adaptability, merging and diverging.

Nā Zena Elliott


Click on the images above to see them in full.

Hover to see captions.

Artist Bio and Works List

Zena Elliott (Te Kahupaake, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Whākaue, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Whanau ā Haraawaka, Ngāti Awa) is a contemporary Māori artist hailing from Te Teko. An esteemed painter and carver, Zena has exhibited extensively in solo, group, and curated shows since the 1990s. Zena has completed several artistic residencies, and supported others as a lecturer in Māori Visual Arts in recent years. Zena is currently working towards a PhD in Visual Arts at AUT: Auckland Institute of Technology and running The Sleepout Project with Tia Barrett in Kirikiriroa.

Flow (2023)

Current (2023)


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