Emily Karaka, Maungakiekie, 2022, mixed media on unstretched linen. Image courtesy of the artist and Te Uru. By Sam Hartnett


Toured by Te Uru | Waitākere Contemporary Art Gallery

26 JUN—20 OCT 2023 Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts / Main Galleries

Scheduled Events

Join us as we host the artist Emily Karaka, and share an opening preview: Thursday 22 June, 5:30pm.

Matariki Ring of Fire follows Emily Karaka’s 2021 McCahon House residency. The exhibition centres on the festival of Matariki, which was marked by a public holiday for the first time in 2022, the Matariki star cluster, and the Tūpuna Maunga of the Tāmaki Makaurau region. Matariki represents a moment of reflection and renewal, with the whetū heralding ceremonies and the seasonal harvest. Whānau, hapū, and iwi come together to celebrate life and share stories of those who have passed on. Karaka depicts the Tūpuna Maunga as places of great significance, where ritual ahi (fires) were set during Matariki in times past.

Matariki Ring of Fire also acknowledges Karaka’s connection to Waikato and the Kīngitanga. A key inspiration for the show is the Matariki 2019 dawn ceremony at Pukekawa Auckland Domain, which she attended. Presided over by Kīngi Tūheitia, the proceedings commenced in the dark and concluded with karakia as the sun rose. The artist looked to the dawn sky and farewelled her great-nephew, Starr Karaka, who had been born and had passed away the day before, departing with the other ‘blessed souls’ on Te Waka o Rangi, bound for the heavens. Matariki Ring of Fire is dedicated to him.

The exhibition is toured by Te Uru | Waitākere Contemporary Art Gallery and the project was supported by: Chartwell, McCahon House, Waitakere Ranges Local Board & St. Lazarus Trust.

Emily Karaka, Te Ahi Kā o Ngā Tūpuna Maunga, 2022