Ruby Solly & Al Fraser – Te Wheke (8/06/2022 – 9/07/2022)

AR poster WEB

Please join us to mark the opening of Te Wheke, an audio installation by Ruby Solly and Al Fraser.


Te Wheke; the octopus. A creature that Kupe followed here from Hawaiiki, but what if it wasn’t just a creature, but a map within itself? Takaroa has te wheke as an ariā; not a song, but an animal’s skin for his wairua to slink inside of. This wheke is an ancient map with eight lines of islands reaching out from Hawaiki; the spiritual home of what we now have as bones, and sinews to wrap them as water wraps the land.

For each limb of te wheke, a sacred waka was made. Protected by birds, by taniwha, by whales and words bringing with them the treasures of Hawaiki. Bringing with them gourds, and birds, and adzes, and seeds, and more and more koha for our new nation as they search for new koha from the land. Pounamu, pakohe; new treasures from new lands, from a woman turned green and cold until we warm pieces of her in our hands, on our chests as they hang from our necks. We; the descendants of journeys never completed, nourished by the descendants of the gifts we were bestowed, both the beautiful and the dangerous.

Te wheke too is a way we navigate our own bodies and the relationships they form. A reach too far in one direction takes us away from something vital that lies in another. Try to stretch yourself too thin and you will struggle to hear the rhythms of the distant shores as they compete for your attention.

In the center you are the head of te wheke. Let yourself move through the oceans as they rise, follow the descent of toroa, of rains, of ourselves, and travel to and from not so foreign shores. Here as the pacific, te wheke, voyagers of the past made future.


Opens: Wednesday 8 June, 5.30pm with performance by Abigail Aroha Jensen, Ruby Solly and Alastair Fraser and refreshments provided by Liberty Brewing Company
Hours: 12 – 4pm, Tuesday – Saturday
Closes: Saturday 9 July


Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a taonga pūoro practitioner, musician, composer, music therapist, and writer, living in Pōneke. She has performed with artists such as Yo-yo Ma, Marlon Williams, Trinity Roots and Rikki Gooch. She has composed for groups such as the Auckland Philharmonia, as well as solo working including her debut album Pōneke which looks at the way histories both colonial and Māori inform the sounds of our landscapes. Her first book Tōku Pāpā was published by Victoria University Press in early 2021, and has been included in literary festivals around Aotearoa including Auckland Writer’s Festival where Ruby was curator Māori. Ruby is currently completing a doctorate in public health at Massey University focusing on the use of taonga pūoro in hauora Māori.

Alistair Fraser (Pākehā) is a manu whakatangitangi a ngā taonga pūoro. In 2022 he released Mahurangi, an album with Riki Pirihi Gooch, the follow up to their first album Rangatira. Riki and Al perform as a duo. In 2021 Alistair released Bird Like Men with ensemble Tararua, collaborated with visual artist Bridget Reweti with Like a rock against the tide, co-curated with Ruby Solly Pūoro Tū the first taonga pūoro festival, completed a NZ wide tour of Silver Stone Wood Bone with Bridget Douglas and collaborated with Good Company Dance’s on their work OneOne.

Alistair was a researcher for Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Otago University from 2017-2020, researching Moriori musical instrument culture. Alistair has completed two research trips to the United Kingdom and Ireland to investigate taonga pūoro held in collections there, one in 2015 and one in 2016 as a Churchill Fellow.