A dawn karakia with Whaea Jane Mihingarangi Ruka, Ngāti Pakau, Ngāpuhi, Waitaha.

On 23rd March 2020, just days before the Level 4 lockdown was announced, I asked my mother to perform a karakia on the point overlooking the gannet colony at Muriwai. The purpose was to send the film to our family and friends living in countries most affected by COVID-19. At 76 years old, she is a mountain climber and often walks the Waitakere tracks. I knew the hill would be a minimal effort on her part. We started before daybreak and climbed the hill. We could hear the voices of the gannets drawing closer and as we walked, she began to chant. The karakia was impromptu and we both did not expect that the karakia would be in the style that came forward. During the karakia, she asks Tāwhirimatea and Tangaroa to carry her prayer to help those who are in trouble and those who are in need. To take care of and bless the children in these troubled times.”

Rematriation: on this day three generations of women in my whanau were present. This story shared today is part of my journey as an Indigenous woman and arts practitioner to document our thread of feminine Indigenous spiritual practice. To reconnect the voices and knowledge systems woven together with the natural world.

About the Artist

Ngāti Pakau, Ngāpuhi, Waitaha Lecturer in Design Mātauranga Māori at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. Executive Director Native Land Digital.

The foundation of Tanya Ruka’s art practice is Mātauranga Māori and Indigenous Knowledge systems. Creating visual narratives of reconnection with the land and honouring Indigenous ways of knowing. Using film and video to document the journey towards circular and net-positive ways of being by bridging land and ocean projects with metaphysical realms. She is currently developing a Kaupapa Mauri methodology to emphasise technology bias and highlight the detrimental effects of technology on global Indigenous communities.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday, 9am to 3pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 8am to 5pm
  • Closed Mondays and public holidays


  • AV Gallery
  • Pah Homestead
  • 72 Hillsborough Road
  • Hillsborough
  • Auckland, New Zealand