Sam Farquhar

He Tangi Whenua

He Tangi Whenua

He Tangi Whenua
Woodcut on harakeke paper
Framed: 635 x 510 x 42 mm

By Sam Farquhar (Te Ātiawa)


These prints were produced as part of the exhibition project Te Awa Reo recently staged at the Sarjeant Art Gallery in Whanganui. This project involved fourteen artists responding to a 8.75 m core sample of sediment taken from the Ātene Meander on the Whanganui River.


“E rere kau mai te awa nui mai te Kaahui Maunga ki Tangaroa. The Atene soil sample contains tiny fragments of history. Seeing this sample, like a biopsy, made me think about the layers of history pertaining to the Whanganui Awa. Granted status as a living entity/personhood in 2017 as part of the Whanganui claims settlement bill, it made me think about the utmost importance of this sacred river, to the wellbeing of the people that traditionally lived and relied upon it. I looked at the colonial history of Whanganui and the effects colonialism had on this incredibly special body of water and in turn the Iwi and hapu of the Whanganui. It is a lamentable tale of pollution, degradation and dam construction and the inevitable outcome of this upon the river life, land and river health, habitat loss for many varieties of tuna and freshwater fish and loss of habitat for birds. Tuna provided a significant food source to Māori and were a reflection of river health. The status of tuna with their important whakapapa links to iwi and hapuu, have been continuously ignored and nearly destroyed over the last century. “This steady undermining of the awa is akin to undermining our whakapapa” Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au


Note: Any purchased art work/s will be available for pick up/courier after the exhibition ends.


  • He Tangi Whenua