Artwork Name: Kete Ora
Artist Name: Joe Kemp
Location: Corner of Tūtānekai and Pukuatua Streets
Medium: Macrocarpa and pōhutukawa
This sculpture depicts two figures, a mother and father, standing guard as kaitiaki (guardians) of kete ora (the basket of life).
The artist, Joe Kemp, wants the work to be reminiscent of ahi kā (burning fires), a concept in Te Ao Māori which refers to keeping the fires burning to show occupation of whenua (land).
Two figures stand guard, facing opposite directions as kaitiaki (guardians) of kete ora (the basket of life).
Kemp’s, work is reminiscent of ahi kā (burning fires), a concept in Te Ao Māori which refers to keeping the fires burning to show occupation of whenua (land). Whilst Ahi Kā translates into burning fires and refers literally to cooking fires that are continuously tended, over time, visible fire began to symbolise continuous occupation of an area by iwi and hapū, so Ahi Kā has evolvedin concept to mean the right to land through continuous occupation.
Credit: Joe Kemp, Kete Ora, 2012. On loan from the artist.
About the artist: Joe Kemp (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) always had an affinity for art, but came to carving later in life and is now a self-taught contemporary sculptor and carver living by Lake Rotoma.
His preferred material is wood, as he enjoys the surprises natural timber can bring with it, and feels a connection with Tāne Mahuta (the life force of the tree in Te Ao Māori) when carving. With his work, Kemp looks to bring out the wairua (essence) in each piece, using and highlighting any special features and grains in the wood or stone.