• Chantel Matthews

Kai Kōrero 13/06/20

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

consists of experiences/stories that are mostly unplanned that usually involve other wāhine.These experiences inform my practice as an exchange through experiences with others and how this sharing feeds into object making art practices with concepts of wellbeing as mana wāhine.

June 13th - 14th 2020

Road trip to Pawarenga (North Island, Hokianga) with my e hoa (mate) Ngahuia Jacobs.

6am Saturday morning, my mate Nas and I headed for her hometown, the valley that is Pawarenga to pick her teenage daughter up who has been staying at the whanau home, taking care of her grandparents who are well into their 80's. The drive is approx 4.5 hours.

We arrived, and I am warmly greeted by her whanau, including her parents, who have this commanding presence. Māma greets me with a kiss and a hug, Pāpā greets me with a hongi and a speech in te reo, ending with "welcome, welcome, welcome." As he spoke, my wairua told me he was not only welcoming me into his whare, and on to his Whenua, he was also welcoming my tūpuna (ancestors) my present self and my children (future generations). Although I may not have understood every word it was a frequency or energy that flowed through me, connecting us through whakapapa.

Surrounded by wahine of all ages, from 14-80+ years old, bottomless cups of tea, karakia, and korero were flowing. Once Nas māma knew what I was studying, she would randomly drop bits of thoughts to consider. " if the 'mauri' (life force) is connected with the 'wairua' (spirit), then that will carry the wāhine." It was said in Māori, so I am still yet to decipher the full meaning.

During my visit, precious portraits of wāhine were unwrapped and shared, these portraits going back to the 1900s of ancestors, so poised and beautiful. My mate is the pōtiki (youngest) of 10 siblings as I watched her and her daughter care for her parents so gently. Boiler bubbling, lighting soft within this celadon green whare, watched over by the surrounding māunga, seas, marae, and churches.

This is the Mahi (work)

Coming together as wāhine to talk about the concepts and ideas of what it is to be wāhine, wāhine Māori, mana wahine, what it is to kōrero about the past, present, future, whakapapa. The sharing of knowledge, of stories, over kai, in homes. These experiences becoming what I call sculptural moments - the idea that a formless experience can be made into a specific form.


  1. without a clear or definite shape or structure. "a dark and formless idea"

Form - verb

  1. 1. bring together parts or combine to create (something).

  2. make or be made into a specific shape or form.

Key words: frequency, energy, form, formless, whakapapa, sculptural moments.