Te Ahi Kā featured in Archive Collective Magazine / by Martin Toft

Thanks to Curator, Maela Ohana for an extensive feature of Te Ahi Kā in Archive Collective. The book consists of 89 colour and b&w photographs including rare images held in 19th and 20th century collections in New Zealand, such as portraits made by Alfred Burton’s Maori at Home (1885) and James Ingram McDonald, Dominion Whanganui River Expedition (1921.)

Research in New Zealand archives was an important element of the development of the book’s narrative and structure as well as allowing images of ancestors from national collections to be seen by the descendants of those featured in 19th and 20th century portraits. An important aspiration of the book is the reconnection of people to their tribal taonga (treasures), and in its broadest sense assist in wider reclamation of Māori knowledge, language, and customs.

Consultation to use the images was sought from living members of whanau (family) and permission granted according to Taonga Māori policies held in New Zealand museums that acknowledges the kaitiaki (guardianship) and copyright of any Māori cultural treasures - including photographs belonging to iwi (tribes).

Seven hidden chapters of text appear inside fold-outs that include conversations with tribal elders in relation to Māori cosmology and provide context about the return to their ancestral homeland, Mangapapapa deep inside the Whanganui River.

Copies can be purchased through the Dewi Lewis website. For New Zealand, Australia and South Pacific visit Oratia Books. In the Americas go to Grenade in a Jar Books. All Special or Collectors Editions contact me here or through my website.