Rongo-marae-roa-a-rangi: He moemoeā shared within The Forest Rongoā Teahouse.
Ko te hīkoi tuatahi – te tīmatanga o ia haerenga
Kotahi te kākano – ko te Wao Nui a Tāne
Kotahi te patawai – ka rere he awa
He wā takitaro – he tīmatanga mutunga kore
At the start
One step is the start of each journey
One seed is the start of a great forest
One drop of water is the start of a river
One moment in time is the start of eternity
- (whakatauki: source Te Kawerau a Maki)
At a time where we are heading inwards, to reconsider so many of life's norms, artist Tanya Ruka encourages
Wellingtonians to come together over a 2 week period from Saturday November 27th to Saturday Dec 11th to question, learn, discuss and korero over a cup of Rongoā tea (Rongoā is traditional Maori medicine using native
plants) at The Forest Rongoā teahouse at 106 Courtney Place, Readings Cinema Complex.
The teahouse isn’t a commercial enterprise but rather a Matauranga Māori based art project designed to make us
reconsider our relationship to our environment, each other and ourselves.
The Forest Rongoā teahouse is also an art installation space, its design inspired by what Ruka describes as “the
pluriversal nature” of the Ngahere (forest). “Whakawhanaungatanga is to actively build relationships, just like the
forest has many interconnected relationships” Ruka says. This is an open invitation to come together, to question, to
kōrero (talk) and share our experiences of the whenua land and imagine different positive versions of the future
Open from Nov 27th at 10am each morning the public are encouraged to pop along to the teahouse, with their favourite drinking vessel to share in
some Rongoā tea - a small selection of fresh rongoā leaves will be sustainably sourced for the day. Ruka encourages us
to consider the many questions before us, as we look to regeneration.
Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka (Ngāti Pakau, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Mahurehure - Ngapuhi, and Waitaha) is an
artist, designer and independent researcher active in environmental issues from an indigenous perspective. She works
with the Waitaha Executive Grandmothers Council and the Common Earth Indigenous Working Group and last year founded the
online Region Net Positive community platform towards seeing agriculture and environment working more reciprocally,
recovering Matauranga Māori tools. She is also a video and performance artist who has exhibited nationally.
This project, Rongo-marae-roa-a-rangi: He moemoeā is the third commission in a series of seven from Urban Dream Brokerage (UDB), which is working with funding from the Wellington City Council Covid Recovery Fund to offer
different uses for vacant commercial city space.
UBD encourages the innovative use of vacant and underutilised retail and public space to creatively build community and
enliven our city’s streets. The series of commissions, which run through 2021 and early in 2022, are led by artists who
are interested in creating space for the public to participate, whilst often bringing new life to vacant spaces. Rongo-marae-roa-a-rangi: He moemoeā follows on from Electromagnetic Geographies
Ruka aims to consider how we communicate with the wai and awa below and ask what the wairua of the land being shared
with us is. The project will also explore how we introduce biodiverse ecosystems into this place of concrete. How do we
plant the seeds?
She asks “Together how do we protect and enhance the Mauri, the life force within urban environments? How do we introduce more
biodiverse ecosystems into this place of concrete? How do we plant the seeds? How do we care for and communicate with
the wai and awa below the city streets?”.
Over the two week period, The space will also exhibit Tanya’s stunning digital weaving series ‘Mapping Poneke’ as well
as other multimedia installations. Acknowledging the wairua of the inner city. Tanya’s weavings will map the inner city
with the mātauranga Māori concepts māramatanga (learning, enlightenment), manākitanga (respect, aroha/ love), kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
Come along from Saturday November 27th to 106 Courtney Place, Readings Cinema Complex. Bring your favourite drinking vessel, This installation aims to remain as low impact as possible. To contribute to the
wairua (spirit) of the whenua (land) this project’s reciprocal engagement is to plant and grow more rongoā trees and
plants. All profits will go to the Future Forests Fund, growing a community rongoā forest in Brooklyn, educating to keep
old growth forests in the ground. www.regionnetpositive.com
About Tanya Ruka:
Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka is of Ngāti Pakau, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Mahurehure - Ngapuhi, and Waitaha
descent. She is an artist, designer and independent researcher active in environmental issues from an indigenous
perspective in Aotearoa and globally, working with the Waitaha Executive Grandmothers Council and the Common Earth
Indigenous Working Group. Last year she founded the online Region Net Positive community platform. A video and
performance artist who has exhibited nationally, Tanya has shown with the Circuit agency since 2016 and was artist in
residence at Corbans Estate Art Centre 2018-19. https://www.fogandmoonstudio.com/About Urban Dream Brokerage:
Urban Dream Brokerage (UDB) was established in 2012 by Sophie Jerram, Helen Kirlew Smith and Mark Amery as part of their
Letting Space entity under the umbrella of Wellington Independent Arts Trust. It is now produced by Maverick
Productions. UDB has found spaces around New Zealand for over 120 creative projects with more than 40 property owners,
allowing the artists’ work to infuse energy into the properties while new tenants were found. UDB encourages creative
and social practitioners to reimagine how they present their work to the public by providing engagement and
participation, bringing new life to vacant spaces. UDB is managed by Jason Muir and Linda Lee.