Mātiro: A survey of photography by Kapua Joy Bennett

Mātiro: A survey of photography by Kapua Joy Bennett

Mātiro‘ (loving gaze) is a retrospective of black and white photography from the 1970s -1980s by Kapua Joy Bennett (Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui).

Born in Tauranga in 1951, Kapua discovered photography as an artistic medium while attending Wellington Polytechnic Design School in 1969. She captured images of her contemporaries in the Nga Tamatoa protest in 1972 and the 3 week sit-in at Parliament grounds. She took photos of street scenes, Māori life, and quiet domestic moments. For more than three decades she was a prolific photographer.

Kapua provided the drawings of Moko for Michael King’s book ‘Moko: Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century’ (1972). She published a calendar ‘Kuia – Tauranga Moana’ in 1994. Her black and white portraits of Kuia in their 80s and 90s showed her gift for photographing Kaumātua and having them to open up to her. “I wanted to see them as they were, naturally. When I’d talk to them one-on-one, you let them relax and get a better shot. You catch the essence of the person.”

This Matariki exhibition reflects life in New Zealand in 1970s to 1980s, particularly an insider’s view of 1970s youth culture, protests and Māori communities. Kapua’s marae in Tauranga is Wairoa Marae, her hapū is Ngāti Kahu. Equally a child of Te Whanau-ā-Apanui, she grew up on the banks of the Wairoa river and in Te Kaha.

The exhibition will open on 22 June and run through to 13 October 2019.


NZ residents and all children under 12: Free (koha appreciated)
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