When Paradise is Not Enough

When Paradise is not Enough
Dunedin Public Art Gallery Window
June 13 – 31 2003

The place Matata (1) is also the home and name for the bird, believed to be a tohu animal by Ngati Rangitihi. It is said that their cries could foretell the future;  indeed the bird played a role in rituals to resolve why and when bad things befell the people. Matata were also sacrificed on the death of Rangatira, so that the manu could accompany the person safely to Hawaiiki, the original homeland of Maori.


Shortly after his 2003 solo exhibition at Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland, Paterson made an op-art window-work installation at Dunedin Public Art Gallery entitled When Paradise is Not Enough. This piece was final tribute to his kuia. His idea was to create a spirit world in the window space that gave the illusion of a translucent heavenly expansiveness. A light box rerenga wairua where the wairua or spirit of his kuia could emanate and bathe in the beauty of light was conceived of to enable her to arrive at her chosen Hawaiiki.


Who else but a descendant of Ngati Rangitihi would take on the intensity and joy of providing one last glimpse of best cultural practice and philosophies of
knowledge in glitter? Who else engages whakapapa to evoke the spiritual dimension?


Ngahiraka Mason

1. In June 2005 massive flooding devastated the Matata region. In the clean-up process, human remains were washed from their resting places together with debris and silt. Some Maori say their ancestors are angry. Much of the damage is in areas where ancestors killed in the wars of the 1860s are buried. “I’m a believer in this, whole-heartedly,” said Tuwhare Kaumatua Matialia Ota. “This is the area where they wanted to build houses and to us it’s a wahi tapu.”
Earlier in the day 68-year- old May Clarke, known as”Auntie” and who has lived in Matata for 45 years said: “They [the ancestors] are angry. The bones have been disturbed. I never knew that they would do it in full blast for the whole community but they used their force which no-one can take from them.”  http://twm.co.nz/floodbop05.html.