by H Sthompson
Tucked in the corner of the Methodist Church property, behind pulpits on Pitt Street, snuck into a garage along Poynton Terrace and displayed upon Karangahape Road street furniture and installations is the artistic, creative and colourful contributions of a collaboration of artisans promoting the philosophy of Piki Toi.
The www.pikitoi.com website says that they enable creative voices to be heard and connect with the wider public, enriching the cultural environment of Auckland City through the site, as well as through events, and exhibitions facilitated with project partners, Lifewise and Unitec.
One of the driving forces of Piki Toi is Tiare Turetahi, Ngati Kahungununu, Taki Tinu, Ngati Nahuika, Te Hapu.
Tiare says he grew up in Hastings in a low socio economic home.
Low socio economic is fancy talk for broke.
Tiare says homelessness is only one mechanism of poverty. Another path is through gang affiliation.
“In the gang culture there is always someone trying to pick you off. Same as politics,” says Tiare.
“On the other side of life, there’s Taha Maori, says Tiare. Being bought up by old people. I remember growing up was about fishing, hunting, gathering, diving – learning how to live of the land.. Catching rain water. We never had hot showers. We hat hot springs. We washed all our clothes in the river. I lived two lives. One was with gangs, and one wasn’t. Every holiday I was out on the farm, until I got into Rugby,” says Tiare.
“I’m drawn to both sides,” says Tiare. ‘My people are suffering. I’m going to find every way I can to help my people. In the city we have different resources. In the city you have to learn a different game. It is about empowering our people and helping each other. Awhina Mai Ta taou Katoa. We will help anybody. Whaka mana tia Ta hapori. Basically we’re there to help everyone, and empower the community. Our art is our only mechanism to engage. Our big project is social sculpture.”
For more information about Piki Toi visit www.pikitoi.com