Otago Polytechnic

Food and art are a storytelling tool to connect people to place and identity.

He taputapu kōrero paki kā kai me kā toi kia hono i kā tākata ki te wāhi me te tuakiri.

The Kaihaukai Art Collective, Ron Bull and Simon Kaan and friends, completed an food installation at Te Papa Museum in Wellington as part of the official programme at the New Zealand Festival of the Arts 2020 and in response to the art installation Tamatea: Legacies of Encounter. Kaihaukai Art Collective want to move people through the process of just viewing art as a passive form of consumption into the active process of actually consuming the work as food. 

"We wanted the story to be one that all New Zealanders feel that they have a connection to, and feel safe with, but at the same time be challenging and a bit confrontational. We decided to break the menu into four component parts, each telling about a period of encounter through the medium of food. People were encouraged to eat with their hands and interact with the food at a very personal level.

  • "The first course related to the time before people encountered the space. We served fresh fish and tuaki/cockles steamed in kelp bags, whole blue cod surrounded by some roasted kelp tendrils, accompanied by a light soup of kombu pickled bull kelp and kina.
  • "The next dish told the story of iwi Māori encounters, this included smoked pāua and roe and of course tītī. We cooked the tītī in a broth with seaweed and served the broth with the meal.
  • "Next referenced 1773 when Cook came through and planted a garden in Tamatea/Dusky. We served potatoes and carrots on top of edible dirt, made from seeds and dried olives. We smoked the dirt with peat flown in from Dusky so people had the experience of actually tasting the land. A cold tea with molasses and a rimu infusion spoke to Cook having brewed a beer for his crew.
  • "The last dish we placed on top of the remnants of the earth. This contained wild venison, the only other ingredient besides the peat brought in from the Sounds by our friends at Pure Salt Charters. A relation of ours, Rex Morgan from Boulcott Street Bistro made a venison tartar with one of the legs, and we slow-cooked and shredded the other and served it on ship's crackers. 

"We explained that we had eaten fish and pāua and birds and just like Dusky, there are no more left. Tamatea/ Dusky has been hard hit with introduced predators - deer, stoats and rats. They, along with human encounters, have pushed this unique ecosystem to the brink of collapse. There is not much left in this pātaka (food cupboard), and if we don't take care of our environment, all we will be handing to our children, the legacy of our encounter, will be pests." 


I whakaoti te Kaihaukai Art Collective, arā, ko Ron Bull rātou ko Simon Kaan, ko kā hoa, i tētahi toi puni kai ki Te Papa i Pōneke; hei tētahi wāhaka o te hōtaka ōkawa ki te New Zealand Festival of Arts 2020, hei urupare i te toi puni Tamatea: Legacies of Encounter. E hiahia ana a Kaihaukai Art Collective kia whakahaere i kā tākata mā te tukaka hākū hei whakapau i kā toi ataata, ki te tukaka ā-tinana, arā, ka whakapau kai hei mahi toi.

"Ka hiahia mātou ki tētahi pūrākau e rokohia ana tētahi honoka e kā tākata katoa o Aotearoa, e noho haumaru hoki ana, ā, he mea whakahorohoro hoki. I whakatau mātou kia whakawehe i te taotaka i kā wāhaka e whā, e whakapuaki ana i kā wā tutakitaka mā te kai. I ākina kā tākata kia kai ki ō rātou rika, kia pāhekoheko matawhaiaro i kā kai.

  • "Ko te wāhaka tuatahi e pa ana ki te wā i mua i te tutakitaka ki te wāhi. Ko te ika mata me kā tuaki i whakamamaoa i kā pōhā, ko te pākirikiri i takaitia e kā rimurapa, ko ētahi hupa hoki o te rimurapa toroī me te kina.
  • "Ko te kai i whai ake e kōrero ana i kā tutakitaka Māori, ko te pāua rārā, ko te tītī hoki. I tunua te tītī i tētahi wai kōhua me te rimurimu, i whakaratohia te wai kōhua i te taha o te kai.
  • "Nō te 1773 i te taeka mai o Cook te mea i whai ake nei, i te wā i whakatō a Cook i tētahi māra ki Tamatea. I whakarato mātou i ētahi rīwai me kā kāreti ki ruka i kā oneone i taea te kai, i hakaia e ētahi kākano me kā ōriwa maroke. I whakamamaoa te oneone me tētahi rei nō Tamatea, ka taea e kā tākata te roko te whenua. He tī mātao, te marahihi me te rimu he whakaaturaka o te pia i toroīa e Cook mō tana ope.
  • "Ko te kai whakamutuka e whakanōhia ana i ruka i kā toeka oneone. Ko te pākaka tia, ko te kīnaki anake atu i kā rei nō Tamatea i whakarerea e ō mātou hoa o Pure Salt Charters. Ko tētahi o tō mātou whanauka, ko Rex Morgan nō Boulcott Street Bistro, i tunu i tētahi kīrimi tāta tia mai i tētahi waewae. I āta tunu, i waruwaru hoki i tērā atu waewae, ā, i whakarato ki ruka i kā pihikete kaipuke.

"I whakamārama mātou, kua kai mātou i kā ika, i kā pāua, i kā manu hoki, ā, pērā ki a Tamatea, kua pau katoa. I kaha tukitukia a Tamatea e kā kaipatu tauiwi - ko kā tia, kā toriura, kā kiore hoki. Nā kā kaipatu me kā whakapāka tākata i tata turaki te pūnaha hauropi. Kua tata pau tēnei pātaka, ā, ki te kore mātou e tiaki i te taiao, ka tuku noa iho i kā kīrearea ki kā tamariki."

July 2020

Image credit: Ron Bull, used with permission