'te ārai ō inamata' : unveiling the kii : an exhibition report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters in Māori Visual Art at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
The vessel known as a ‘kii’ is the focus for this research. Preceding the arrival of our ancestors from the Pacific, the kii was used as a vessel to transport the eggs belonging to the flightless bird known as the moa, which existed around 1300AD. The kii doubled as an exercise implemented by warriors, for muscle toning and strengthening in preparation for battle. This same vessel was also used as a weapon or hunting tool via the insertion of kōhatu. It is because of this mātauranga that I became interested in the components and construction of the vessel. More importantly, there is little known regarding the kii, and as such, this study has involved an investigation into its creation in order to further develop rangahau that is not yet resourced. Consequently, the absence of relevant data has been quite challenging at times, which has forced an alternative approach to this topic to ascertain the potential and presence of raranga methods applied to the kii. However, a brief disengagement from the main focus (the vessel) was necessary to explore other possibilities and gather evidence of its existence, before venturing back to the initial point of origin. The lens of mātauranga demands rangahau that authenticate practical developments, which is a major contributor to the findings of this rangahau. While this study has uncovered several promising findings, there are still many aspects of the vessel waiting to be discovered by future researchers that will shed more light on the past. The findings from this investigation also contribute to our overall understanding of creations that use whatu, whiri and raranga techniques, which have possibly evolved from the origins of the kii and its narratives. This latter point reflects both my own experience as a weaver and an overall hypothesis that the findings of this study support. In other words, the vessel, as it is understood in the context of this research, continues to be evident in contemporary art forms such as the poi. Hence, the material exhibited in this thesis has direct links to the vessel and has in turn inspired my practice as a kaiwhatu and kairaranga. Essentially, the research discussed in this exegesis highlights the origin of the vessel, how it was constructed and used. Furthermore, this new knowledge adds to the information readily available for future generations, who wish to continue the search for past knowledge regarding whakapapa that enriches contemporary understandings of Te Ao Māori.