New Zealand Land Wars

Acrylic on Art Paper

"My parents and elders (most born in the 1800’s) around at the time raised us on the oral history of the Land wars. They were proud, strong and pragmatic people. all they wanted was for the land to be returned to the people. In my immediate vicinity as a child many of the families settled at or near both Owae Marae and Kairau Marae some in old shacks or very crowded small houses. All of my childhood was to watch and witness the hundreds of hui and speakers who talked about the loss of land.

I was still at primary school when i inherited the job of mowing the lawns at Owae marae with a push mower. I was still doing this in the 6th form at Waitara High School. originally it was for free but i got paid 10 shillings eventually for a job that started at 9.00am and finished around 6.00pm. By the time I was 16 I had an intimate knowledge of the oral history as told by my parents and elders.

I started my first land series paintings in the late 60’s with the memory of our old people telling me the importance of the land to our history our identity and our spiritual health. I also came under the strong influence of pakeha like English environmentalist Teddy Goldsmith and English scholar Patrick Macaskill and others who shared similar thoughts about land and people. Both were close and very dear friends. Teddy introduced me to the Gaia theory of the living planet. He purchased my entire London exhibition.