In May 2011, a group of leading artists from the South Pacific region will travel on HMNZS Otago to a place rarely explored – the seas around the Kermadec Islands.
The “seariders” heading to the Kermadec region are Niuean-born John Pule, Te Puke-born painter and printmaker Robin White, leading Australian sculptor/installation artist Fiona Hall, inter-media-artist Phil Dadson, painter John Reynolds, Wellington-based sculptor Elizabeth Thomson, photographer Jason O’Hara, documentary filmmaker and photographer Bruce Foster, and writer-artist Gregory O’Brien.
In November 2011, an exhibition of the artists’ work – ‘Kermadec’ – will open at the Tauranga Art Gallery. The Kermadec Ridge (the undersea formation which includes Raoul Island, where the artists will spend two days) is geologically linked with the Tauranga area. The Ridge stretches northwards from the Bay of Plenty, as far as the Tongan Trench. Through shipping, fishing, voyaging, migration, history, mythology, meteorology and geology, the Kermadecs are very much a part of Bay of Plenty reality. This exhibition will enhance these connections in new and illuminating ways.
The Kermadec Islands are the most remote part of New Zealand. Despite their historical as well as mythological significance, public awareness of the islands and surrounding waters is slight. The voyage and exhibition aim to change that by documenting a unique, imaginatively charged encounter with one of the greatest, least-known, natural wilderness areas on the planet.