On Monday 21 February, Breast Screen Coast to Coast, in partnership with Te Tihi o Ruahine and Pae Ora Paiaka Whaiora commissioned two new artworks.
They are located in the Breast Screen Coast to Coast building on Amesbury Street in Palmerston North, one in the reception area and one in the meeting room.
The reveal of the artworks involved a whakanoa (removal of spiritual restrictions), and instilling mauri (life-essence) through karakia and acknowledging the skill and work of the Ringatoi (artist).
The painting in reception, named ‘Te Ira Tangata’, was inspired by the whakataukī ‘Me aro ki te hā o Hineahuone’, which means pay heed to the life-force of women. In Māori lore, Wāhine are the physical embodiment of Atua Wāhine (Celestial female beings) including Hineahuone, the first woman. The mahi toi whakairo (Carved wooden wall hanging) which hangs in the staff meeting room named ‘Te Hā o Hine-ahu-one’ reflects the sentiment of its companion ‘Te Ira Tangata’ and together reinforces the importance of cultural responsiveness in the delivery of health services.
Formed from the red earth of Kurawaka, Hineahuone was shaped and moulded by the hands of Tāne te Waiora and given life when he placed his nose to hers, sharing ‘the first breath’, thus the phrase ‘Tihei Mauri Ora’. This expression heralded the coming and the potential for humankind, where Te Whare Tangata (The Womb) is the Sacred House of Life where it would forever reside and be protected within Te Ira Wāhine (womanhood).
The artist, Nikau Tonihi who is part of Tihi o Ruahine. ”I am very honoured to have been given the privilege to create such a meaningful artwork that speaks to wāhine and their whānau around hauora/wellbeing and the protection of whakapapa. It has been a beautiful and humbling experience to see this tāonga reach it’s final resting place at the Breast screening Coast to Coast Centre”.
Tawhiti Kunaiti – Pou Whakarae, Priniciple Cultural Leader, from Te Tihi o Ruahine said “as a whānau ora organistation, Te Tihi is pleased to have been engaged by the Equity and Bicultural Programme Leads for cancer to contribute towards elevating wāhine and the mana they have within the whānau unit via the creation of the ‘Te Ira Tangata’ artwork. We trust the tāonga will serve as a beacon of light for all wāhine and their whānau, and especially so for the kaimahi (staff) and whare (workplace, premises) that provide the screening service as this art piece has been made with a lot of thought, energy and aroha”.
Michael Whareaitu, Tikanga and Cultural Advisor from Pae Ora Paiaka Whaiora said “staff participation in tikanga processes such as the huranga taonga which took place on Monday 21st February helps to build on the big picture of Cultural Safety and Cultural Responsiveness. Both the painting and the carving go hand in hand (hoa haere – companions) in creating a visual representation of the importance of using Tikanga-based practice to improve health outcomes for Māori. The late Piri Sciascia (respected kaumātua of Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Rangitane descent) said ‘he toi whakairo, he mana tangata’ – where there is artistic excellence there is human diginity. We would like to acknowledge the work of both artists for their amazing contribution to this kaupapa”.
Yvonne Hewsen, BreastScreen Coast to Coast Regional Equity Coordinator from said “the artworks are the embodiment of a kaupapa Māori women’s-centred service delivery model ‘Te Hā o Hine-ahu-one’ that Breast Screen Coast to Coast have adopted to encourage and support Wāhine Māori to access breast screening. These artworks convey the message of the importance of looking after our health and wellbeing to protect ourselves and our whakapapa from the harms of breast cancer. Breast Screen Coast to Coast would like to thank all of those who were involved in the process, and in particular the artists who took a concept and captured it beautifully in the expression of their art. Other pieces of art are displayed throughout the premises to compliment the commissioned artworks and enhance the environment and the service model that we deliver”.
You can view the new artworks at 27 Amesbury Street at the Breast Screen Coast to Coast office in Palmerston North.
Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945.