“A picture is worth a thousand words” and the works featured in this exhibition speak volumes on the aftermath of October 1769, when HMS Endeavour under the captaincy of James Cook, made landfall on the East Coast of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The ship anchored off Tūranga and from there landing parties were dispatched to seek out fresh water and explore the terrain.
It was inevitable that the crew of the vessel and the tangata whenua would meet at some point. The initial contact was a devastating occurrence with the killing of Te Maro of Ngāti Oneone. Thereafter a further series of unfortunate clashes resulted in the deaths of several more Māori. The enormity of the situation caused Cook to cut short his stay and in a moment of frustration he named the immediate coastline Poverty Bay as ‘it afforded us no one thing we wanted’.
The advent of Cook significantly affected the people they encountered in Aotearoa and is still impactful to this present day. The diversity of thought, style and medium by each artist in this exhibition conveys a narrative quality, at times making a moral or a judgement call. The overall subject matter is drawn down from that day in 1769 when HMS Endeavour hoved into view.