On occasion of Dale Harding’s exhibition There is no before, join Rongomai Grbic-Hoskins (Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Hao, Ngāti Pakahi, Ngāti Moroki, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngātiwai) in conversation with artists Sarah Hudson from Kauae Raro Research Collective (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pūkeko) and Nikau Hindin (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngai Tūpoto) about their use of kōkōwai in contemporary art practice.

Kōkōwai is a material used by Sarah Hudson and Nikau Hindin in their respective art practices. This engagement with kōkōwai in contemporary art, illustrates the notion of indigenous visual sovereignty and how creative potential can affirm te ao Māori in all of its diversity. Kōkōwai, and its use in Harding’s show, highlights the continuity of practice in relationship to Indigenous Australian rock art practice. Within this, the reapplication of kōkōwai by both sets of indigenous artists is sited within a contemporary art context.

Although distinct and individual within respective indigenous Australian and Māori cultures – kōkōwai is a shared taonga, drawn from sites of significance and practiced with customary protocols. The work of each also highlights a connection between the two Indigenous cultures and communities, their relationship to whenua, land and place and to taonga tuku iho, treasures from the ancestors - customary practice, materials and methodologies.


Sarah Hudson is an artist, researcher and mum living below Kaputerangi in Whakatāne. Alongside her fellow soil enthusiasts from Whakatāne, Hudson founded Kauae Raro Research Collective in 2019. Over the past 18 months, they’ve dedicated their practices to relearning and embodying the ways their tīpuna used earth pigments as an art material, in ceremony and as rongoā (medicine). Hudson is also a member of Mata Aho Collective. Inspired by customary Māori textile practices and industrial materials, Mata Aho create large-scale installations with a single-authorship. The collective are nominated for the 2021 Walter’s Prize and are currently exhibiting their 2020 installation, Atapō, at Auckland Art Gallery.

Nikau Hindin is a barkcloth maker who works with aute (paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera). Hindin grounds her practice in Mātauranga Māori, the Māori Lunar calendar, language, genealogy and relationships with knowledge holders, the land, plants and the ocean. Hindin was influenced by her time in Hawai’i with teachers and students of voyaging, celestial navigation and kapa (Hawaiian tapa cloth). Hindin returned to Aotearoa in 2018 to reawaken the practice of aute, a tradition that hadn’t been practiced in over a century. Hindin straddles the worlds of Indigenous practice and contemporary art. Hindin’s first solo at The Dowse (2020) Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai, was based on the movement of celestial bodies as signs to not only find direction but also to delineate time as an important part of our stella lunar calendar system.

Rongomai Grbic-Hoskins is a multi-disciplinary artist working across visual arts, photography and illustration - both digital and analogue. She received a Bachelor’s in Communication Design from Auckland University of Technology in 2018. Since completing her studies, Grbic-Hoskins has focused on Māori centred curatorial and research practices in the museum and gallery sector. Grbic-Hoskins has previously held internships at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.


  • Free


  • Wed 07 Jul


  • 6:00 pm — 8:00 pm


  • 42 Queen Street
  • Ngāmotu New Plymouth