Artworks 2019

Mana Moana 2019

Mana Moana 2019 was a collaboration between Maori and Pacifica musicians, artists, writers and choreographers to produce a series of five, short art films fusing poetry, dance, song, painting, photography and animation. Instead of projecting on a traditional film screen Mana Moana explores its themes of ocean, migration and diaspora on a screen of projected water.

The water screen – a feat of engineering – propels millions of water drops that fall and catch the light, creating a screen that gives the illusion of images appearing from the darkness and floating on water.

Running for six nights at Whairepo Lagoon on Wellington’s waterfront, Mana Moana was curated by Michael Bridgman and Rachael Rakena. Rakena, a well known-artist whose own work frequently uses water, says having the films screen in this way affirms the project’s kaupapa.

“These films explore indigenous relationships and identities with the ocean. As we grapple with climate change, our futures will be linked in new ways. Water is connective tissue – the seas connect us all between the islands of the Pacific – and Mana Moana is literally projecting its stories on water.”

“In the face of our climate emergency this work is timely and relevant”. Says Rakena.

Rakena paired artists from different disciplines together, to cross-pollinate and create wholly new works. Visual artist Robyn Kahukiwa’s paintings are animated and partnered with text by Tina Ngata, Dayle Takitimu and Michelle Ngamoki; Karlo Mila’s poetry is complemented by Michael Bridgman’s animated patterns; Johnson Witehira’s contribution makes waves across three of the projects; Louise Potiki Bryant has worked with dancer Rosie Tapsell with music by longtime partner, Paddy Free; and Warren Maxwell’s music links the films, threading its way through the sequence. 

Mana Moana ran nightly from the 28th of June to the 3rd of July from 6-9pm at Wellington Habour’s lagoon and was part of Wellington City Council’s Matariki ki Pōneke 2019.

The project has being invited to be part of Toronto Nuit Blanche light festival and was awarded gold at the 2020 New Zealand Design Best Awards