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Kaupapa!

Haka Peepshow is a celebration of the diversity of contemporary haka in Maori and broader New Zealand culture. In an era, when the haka is frequently a commercial branding device, this coin-operated peepshow invites viewers to take a fresh look at the haka and to consider it in the broader context of the sexualisation and commodification of Maori sportsmen and the representation of their masculinity and culture in the media.

HAKA PEEPSHOW, Octagon, Dunedin. Photo by Justin Spiers

Background

The work has been developed within the context of the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the release of the Waitangi Tribunal Report, Wai 262, on 2 July 2011.
In the 24 years since New Zealand last hosted and won the Rugby World Cup, the role of the haka in mainstream New Zealand has thrived. In large part, this is due to the use of the haka in branding strategies for the All Blacks and the huge uptake of sponsorship and advertising in the media that both promotes and exploits Maori culture.

This artwork addresses issues surrounding the exploitation/use of Maori intellectual and cultural property as discussed in the Wai 262 report. The Waitangi Tribunal considered whether the Crown was responsible for breaches to the Treaty of Waitangi in failing to protect a range of Maori cultural knowledge and practices including the ‘Ka mate’ haka used by the All Blacks, and other cultural practices like ta moko. It made non-binding recommendations to the Crown.

Haka Peepshow attempts to reposition the ‘rugby’ haka within a broader cultural context by showcasing a range of other haka exponents.

Pou Haka

Haka Peepshow is presented in a viewing booth in the form of a ‘pou’. A pou is a post, upright, support, pole, pillar, or goalpost, but it can also reference a teacher or expert. The Haka Peepshow pou also references the shape of the black ‘Rexona for Men’ aerosol deodorant – a product endorsed by the All Blacks. Five metres high with a diameter of 1.2metres, the high-gloss black pou has four ‘peepholes’ to enable viewers to look at four different haka performed by three leading exponents: Selwyn Parata, Tame Iti, Wetini Mitai-Ngatai; and two young Ngai Tahu leaders – Waiariki Parata-Taiapa and Taikawa Tamati-Elliffe. Viewers must insert a coin to activate the video. More information about each performer and their haka can be found under Kaihaka

Ko Uhia Mai

A related work draws attention to gender issues in rugby and celebrates the success of the New Zealand Women’s Rugby team, the Black Ferns, who are the current Women’s Rugby World Cup champions for the fourth consecutive time. Ko Uhia Mai which translates as let it be known draws attention to how little is known about the success of New Zealand women’s rugby. The six minute video, featuring six current players from the Black Ferns is a large scale projection, showing until September 18, on the side of a prominent building in central Invercargill as part of the Taste of Southland Festival.