Dr Moana Nepia - Te Kore – The Māori Concept of Void as a Kaupapa for Creative Practice

Moana Nepia is a choreographer, video artist and curator who studied dance at the VCA in Melbourne in the 1980’s, had careers in classical ballet and contemporary dance in New Zealand and Europe, then retrained as a painter at Chelsea and Wimbledon Schools of Art in London. His work has been included in exhibitions in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Germany, Canada, the US and Palau. He has published poetry, curated exhibitions on lm, video and photography of Māori dance, contemporary Pacific Island art, is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i, and Arts Editor for The Contemporary Pacific.

The Māori concept of Te Kore (void, nothingness and potentiality) is given ancestral presence and human form in cosmogenic narratives from the nineteenth century Māori scholar, Mohi Ruatapu.

This presentation layers sound, video and poetic excerpts from a practice-led

investigation responding to this proposition to demonstrate how Te Kore may also be considered as a narrative, choreographic and collaborative principle - patterning space, movement, images and sound

in performance, and the integration of different voices, texts, and bodies of thought in the design of an exegesis.

The creative methodology titled Aratika (an appropriate pathway), grounded in mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge), concepts, and values, will also be discussed. Theorising a creative methodology from an Indigenous perspective, this approach acknowledges the subjective, re exive, cumulative and embodied nature of creative research and presents a model that may be adapted elsewhere.

Research outcomes included collaborative dance and video workshops, performances, a volume of creative writing, video installations and screenings in Auckland, Wellington and Cologne, and a dance duet described as one of New Zealand’s dance highlights of 2012. Ideas derived from this investigation are currently helping to inform the development of new courses in art and performance of the Pacific at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

From The Outstanding Field: Artistic Research Emerging from the Academy - A Symposium. 19th — 21st of March 2015.