Moata McNamara: Something tribal this way comes

Oct 2022 | Hybrid, The Optimist

One foot across the threshold and someone speaks of taonga soon to be displayed, hoping for ‘a bit of Māori at the fringe of heaven’.

And something stirs within.

No ‘fringe’. No fine art focus. This name is already written in sound and colour, in hearts and bones.


From the large wood-lined lounge I hear it lapping in tide rhythms. Hine Pūkohurangi’s winter whispers seep into a soft cream kitchen. A shaky framed bedroom window opens to kūkupa thrum and tui morning call.

Drum beat on the wind and the healing whirr of pūrerehua echo in the blue tiled bathroom.

Titirangi stirs within each of the rooms of my new-old house.

sweet green perfumes
staccato drips after rainfall
ka whiti te rā


Moata McNamara (Ngāpuhi, Te Mahurehure) has been working with various forms of art and languages for over 50 years. Her work is held in private collections in Europe and Aotearoa. She holds a Masters in Art and Design and a PhD in Māori Development, and has taught extensively in tertiary education. Focusing on making art and poetic writing, her recent work centres around issues of memory and identity. Of the time since 2020 she says: ‘Being in Tamaki during Covid has gifted me a pulling close, a refining and redefining, where new-old paths are able to open.’

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