He Tangi Aroha – Mama Don’t Cry (edit)
"He Tangi Aroha – Mama Don't Cry has developed alongside Graeme Atkins, Alex Monteith and Natalie Robertson’s series Te rerenga pōuri o nga parawhenua ki Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. Initially informed by long nights at karaoke, and the necessity to learn Mum’s waiata, I explored karaoke text as an educational format. He Tangi Aroha – Mama Don’t Cry has since evolved into an intergenerational collaboration between me and my mama, Aroha Yates-Smith.
Framed by our puna in Rotorua, a place of burning cold water, Mum speaks and sings of Parawhenuamea, the deity of alluvial waters and silt. In 2012, Mum was one who stood for this awa at the Tribunal hearing of Ngāti Rangiwewehi.
Much of our ancient knowledge was shared orally and cared for in the minds of those who have come before us. For many, access to springs of knowledge—be it growing up listening to your kaumātua, living near your marae, or speaking te reo—can be difficult for Māori displaced from their whenua. One of the deliberate and extensive effects of colonisation is the stripping of old knowledge and ways of being within the world. In He Tangi Aroha – Mama Don’t Cry, I place Mum’s kōrero in a karaoke-esque format to trial modes of sharing and receiving knowledge, as a means to reclaim the relational process of learning through our elders, tūpuna and atua." - Artist Statement