Tuhinga / Essays
Kāinga Tahi Kāinga Rua
Essay: Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua (First Home, Second Home)
Author: Katerina Martina Teaiwa
Publication: Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba, Indiana University Press
In 2003 the renowned Māori sculptor Brett Graham created a multimedia installation based on my research exploring Banaba's connection to Aotearoa/New Zealand. Kāinga Tahi, Kāinga Rua, or "First Home, Second Home," commented on three central aspects of the Banaba experience: the loss of land through mass industrial extraction, the dominance of the island landscape by Western technology, and the political, economic, and organic relationships between New Zealand and Banaba, since a good portion of the island has been scattered across New Zealand farms. Graham created ten stark white vessels covered in phosphate; each symbolized two million tons of shipped phosphate. Above these he suspended three rusted steel cylindrical forms representing the mining technology that carved up the island and now remains in a decayed and decrepit state. Projected onto the steel were two sets of images from the visual portion of my work, one depicting a metal grab excavating the side of a rock face and the other showing the Banaban Dancing Group on Rabi retelling their history through song and dance. The third image was a loop of a crop-dusting plane taking off and soaring over the New Zealand hill country.
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