Gorse (gone to seed), Waitawa, 2015

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Recommended Viewing Station (towards Red Island), Waitawa, 2015

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Pasture, Waitawa, 2015

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Radiata Pine (blocking), Waitawa, 2015

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Wilding Pine, Waitawa, 2015

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Codie, Waitawa, 2015

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Gorse (in bloom), Waitawa, 2015

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View of Red Island from the Wharf (Kāramuramu Island)

Diptych, Waitawa, 2015 

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Kōherurahi Pā, Waitawa, 2015

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Thunderstorm, Waitawa, 2015

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Wave, Waitawa, 2015

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Red Island as seen on December 6th, 2015 (waterfall residue)

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Red Island as seen on December 6th, 2015 (peak)

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Red Island as seen on December 6th, 2015 (diptych)

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Installation view @ Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett 2017

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Installation view @ Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett 2017

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Installation view @ Papakura Art Gallery, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett 2017

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Installation view @ Two Rooms, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett

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Installation view @ Two Rooms, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett

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Installation view @ Two Rooms, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett

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Installation view @ Two Rooms, Auckland | Photo © Sam Hartnett

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A Warm Welcoming Feeling 


This is a residency project about land use at Waitawa Regional Park; an isolated coastal area on the edge of Auckland, New Zealand.


Weeds are ubiquitous, yet both the weed itself and the concept of the word are european introductions to New Zealand – to its land and its people. In pre-european times, an equivalent of the word hardly existed in te reo Māori.


The invasive gorse plant is thought to have arrived with early British missionaries during the 1830s for agricultural use as a living fence. It also served nostalgic purposes in otherwise unfamiliar terrain. As gorse rapidly spread, and the distinction between valuable gorse and stray gorse became blurred, a living monument to colonisation was born. It now covers 5% of all arable land in the country.


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Visible from north-facing slopes within the park is Kāramuramu Island – a rare, red island that's host to one of Auckland's longest-running quarries. The unique red aggregate excavated from this site is described as 'giving a warm welcoming feeling to one’s home or business.' Because of the finite nature of this natural resource, quarrying is now restricted to a large, seawater filled pit in the centre of the island; currently 70 metres below sea level, excavation will continue to a depth of 200 metres before moving to neighbouring Pakihi Island. 


I visited the island on December 6th, 2015. After removing my boots I stepped into the deep blue seawater pit. The water turned red as the earth rose quickly around my ankles.


My resulting tightly-framed, black and white photographs of human endeavour – although immense – struggle to truly convey sublime experience. The limits of a medium so descriptive and finite won’t allow it.


Silver gelatin fibre based prints, 41 x 51cm, edition of 3.


This project was made possible thanks to the generous support from Auckland Council, Creative New Zealand, Studio La Gonda, Stan Hall, Two Rooms Gallery,  Elam School of Fine Arts and Manukau Institute for Technology.

Using Format