Tuia ki te rangi
Tuia ki te whenua
Tuia ki te moana
Tuia te here tangata
E rongo te pō, e rongo te ao.
Through a series of visits to remote areas of Rakiura (Stewart Island), Nakunaku (2020) is Sandy Wakefield's acknowledgement of the impact of colonisation on generations of her tupuna. Stripped of their culture, their whenua, marae, mana, and reo, the connection to whakapapa became broken up and disjointed. For the artist, to stand in the places of her tupuna acts as a form of reclamation.
This journey is told by Rakiura women through a cinematic sound design that externalises their 'unseen' presence, weaving and guiding the audience through the deeply personal experiences these women share about their upbringings, and how they live with those histories on Rakiura today. Wakefield's research into local pūrākau, whakapapa, colonial histories, Rakiura history, mahinga kai areas and seasons, specific birds and their uses by Rakiura Māori is heard in the film's soundscape.
The whakatauki "Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua" is a strong influence for the artist, and guides her utilisation of traditional mātauranga and tikanga in the making of this work.