• Chantel Matthews

Morning Pages

Realisations – Purpose of practice and intention

1. Believing in the self and the intuition from a Te ao māori perspective, ie that may include channelling from our ancestors. (Māori philosophy belongs to a different spatial and temporal reality from that of European philosophy. Time and space in Māori philosophy are unified: in the Māori language, separate words for space and time do not exist. Therefore, past events do not lose their significance, and ancestors collapse the space-time continuum to be co-present with their descendants.).

What is the difference between one being influenced by past role models and seeing opportunities between the lines and Māori being influenced by ancestors?

2. Using the everyday as opportunities to incorporate Māori ways of knowing and seeing. To learn buried knowledge systems and embrace how such ways can empower, uplift and inspire not only my own life and those around me but my art practice as well (“ Māori knowledge influence one’s everyday thinking and inform one’s views on social matters of all kinds” – Georgina Stewart, Māori Philosophy, 7)

3. Within my art practice, use the everyday as a platform to discuss issues that are important to me and contribute towards different ways of knowing and understanding.


1. Scaffolding

Thesis references only Artists, Scholars and Academics that include Māori descent only. To create a scaffold for wāhine as a philosophy? Philosophy dictionary meaning: theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour In this context explore how wāhine behave based on Te ao Māori principles within the everyday society we live in and what that looks like as a creative practice. Wāhine philosophy as a creative practice.

What would it be like to only have a narrative that is influenced by one voice or to be the first and main voice telling it’s own story.

Desparately seeking Wāhine

A sculptural practice that explores everyday connections as wāhine

Influence? A play on Desperately Seeking Susan is a 1985 American comedy-drama film directed by Susan Seidelman and starring Rosanna Arquette and Madonna. Set in New York, the plot involves the interaction between two women – a bored housewife and a bohemian drifter – linked by various messages in the personal column of a newspaper.

Ideas of growing up in this era, this influence, ideas of seeking what is in the mirror, changing identity, reclaiming true identity or operating under an identity that has been given. If only the title is influenced by Euro-american influence, could this be a re-writing of that influence. Changing the narrative.

Main Key words: Time and space (wā), Whakapapa (Living and non-living), Wāhine (female essence)

Whakapapa as experience is introduced as a methodological and conceptual tool that explores interrelated paths through Māori epistemologies. Whakapapa, as research is about relationships with living and non-living. I wish to use whakapapa that is inclusive and acts as a mechanism that embodies narratives, including wāhine to recount stories with everyday experience at the centre. Conceptually whakapapa will serve as a catalyst in creating sculptural moments. I believe my example of collecting awa explores experience as well as connection through whakapapa by returning home to whaingaroa to collect.

Methodological Statement

The selection of methods chosen is anchored in Maori epistemologies. That includes whakapapa, wāhine concepts, and tikanga that encompass experience at the centre. Through process-led exchanges, the aim is to find ways of understanding wāhine in the everday in a way that honors concepts through object making practices and value what it means to enhance and empower the wāhine and further unpack such knowledge systems. To use moments or experiences as a story-telling mechanism is not a new concept to Māori for oratory, and object making is a way of our being. By abstraction and object making, I hope to locate a space where not only can wāhine in the everyday can be seen and understood but can find understanding without being exposed to critical practice, leaving freedom to walk in-between spaces with confidence.

Connection as wāhine to all living and non-living through time and space.

Sub Key words: Manaaki, Everyday

Breadth and Depth of it?

What constitutes the practice?


The collecting of awa (home, connection to whakapapa, cleanse, heal) rubbish ( reciprocal action, to give back to the awa, cleanse, connection to whakapapa) taking care of our own wellbeing and how land and sea are crucial to our wellbeing as Māori. Realised this during lockdown, returning home and engaging with Te Ao principles. (everyday wellbeing as wāhine) mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, friend) ( action and work – collecting awa and cleaning beach manaaki for living and non-living). Reciprocal gesture). Presence and absence of manaaki (rubbish, care for each other and the environment)


Making cups, vessels. The everyday humble cup, serves, creates time and space for kōrero, connection to whenua (whakapapa) can heal, wellbeing, cleanse. Creating something with my hands, glazed with awa – connects with ideas of home. The presence and absence of home (walking in two worlds) parallel cup (western) wā (te ao Māori) to combine these two worlds into the everyday. (action and work – making cups and tea) to explore position as wāhine in the everyday, creating time and space for healing, wellbeing, discussions, connections. The presence and absence of manaaki (care for each other and the environment)

What needs to be in the Exegesis!

Stories of everyday experiences

Analysing Insta images – Stand outs.

Readymade objects, home, domestic objects, poverty, mark making, ceramics, tea, nature, kitchen, cleaning, food, sea,

Core – Wellbeing

Use wāhine as a framework to look at well-being in the everyday through a creative practice


Wāhine concepts





Collecting awa

Making cups

Glazing cups with awa

Kai Korero


Picking up rubbish

Collecting objects

Making objects

Kai korero


Stories based on experiences from these two methods.

The only non-negotiable is the sharing of stories as that drives the practice and influences the work.

ACTION – making cups, collecting wai, picking up rubbish, collecting rubbish

FEELING – aroha, priviledged, grateful, wairua calling me home, connected to the whenua and sea, especially when making cups and collecting awa in whaingaroa.

THOUGHT – to look at cups as a way of holding space to breath and connect, to manaaki each other. The picking up the rubbish seems like a way of giving back to nature for looking after me and my wellbeing, for taking awa. To acknowledge all things living and non-living, to take care. share

ART – Outcome of all of these actions, feelings and thoughts.


“ You must go right back and dig into your Māoritanga. You must get back to the basics, to the grass-roots. You’ve got to feel it, feeling is most important. That ihi, that mauri – you’ve got to have it! Then, how you interpret your feelings is your thing – its over to you. But without ihi you get what I call wallpaper carvings – shallow and it doesn’t mean a thing” – Arnold Wilson: Artist and Sculptor, Te Māori, vol.6, No, 6, October 1974, p33

Vessels are intrinsic to the idea of journeying. A mode of transport, they also accompany the journey-maker, carrying important objects of culture and exchange. Vessels, too, carry people in and out of life: the pregnant body holds new life, while waka kōiwi (burial chests) transport and hold the dead. How a vessel is decorated or adorned relates to more than its purpose - its social value is also signalled this way. Conveying and containing the histories and stories of people, the ornate carvings on waka taut (war canoes) speak to the whakapapa (lineage) of journeying, both in a literal and in a genealogical sense – Mckelvie Gallery. Shane Cotton.

Time and space in Māori philosophy are unified: in the Māori language, separate words for space and time do not exist. Therefore, past events do not lose their significance, and ancestors collapse the space-time continum to be co present with their descendants.[1]

Stewart, Georgina Tuari. Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking from Aotearoa. Great Britain: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021.

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.

The work is shared stories that happen by chance over a cuppa tea…

[1] Georgina Tuari Stewart, Māori Philosophy: Indigenous Thinking from Aotearoa, (Great Britain: Bloomsbury Academic, 2021), 3