Kua poho kererū katoa au i ahau anō

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

He kaitoi takatāpui Māori a Russ Flatt – ka mutu, kua pai tēnā ki a ia ināianei. Heoti, he huarahi roa kia tae ki korā, he whakamaheatanga nō ngā hononga o te pūmaranga, o te moemoeā, me te mātātuhi. I kōrero i a ki a Dan Poynton.


Haere ake nei, he whakakitenga ā Russ ki ngā Whare Toi o Tim Melville me Milford i tēnei takurua. He kaiwhakawā hoki ia mō te tohu Capital Photographer of the Year; kei te Whare Toi o Te Auaha, ki Te Ūpoko o Te Ika, te whakakitenga tae noa ki te 11 o Hūrae.


“Kua poho kererū mārika au i tāku tū hei tāne takatāpui Māori. Me te aha hoki, he mea whaimana tēna,” tā Russ, me tōna wairua mauri tau e whakamahana ana i te waea ā-kiriata. “Kua roa tōku ara ki te hāneaneatnga o tōku tuakiri ahurea. I toko ake te whakaaro kia āta mārama ki tōku ake tuakiri hōkakatanga.”


Kua tāmokohia ngā mahi a Russ ki tērā ara hōkakatanga ōna. Kei korā te ingo me te mamae, heoti he āhuareka ngangahau: kei te pito o āna mātātuhi ko ngā tāne me ngā tama, me ō rātou ātaahua hoki, te ira tāne, waihoki ko te karihika. He wero hoki ki te ariā o te ngako o te tānetanga.


He mea huna tō Russ hōkakatanga i a ia e taiohi ana ki te pokapū o Glenfield, ki Te Raki Paewhenua, ki Tāmaki Makaurau. “Kāore koe e tino mōhio ki tō rerenga kētanga i te korenga o ngā momo kupu e hāngai ana. Tae rā anō ki tāu rangatahitanga, hei te pūhuruhurutanga. Koia ko koe.”


He rite tonu tō Russ nako kia rangatū hei kōtiro. “Ka toro mai a Mr Whippy i ngā ahiahi Hanarei, ā, koia tēnā te wā i whakangungu ngā kōtiro rangatū. Ko au tērā ki te tahatika e hurō ana, he whakapono nōku kāore he mea i tua atu i tērā.” Ka waihapetia a Mr Whippy me ngā kōtiro rangatū ki tāna whakaaturanga tuatahi, ki Perceiving Identities.


Russ Flatt, "Outside Edge", 2015, photographic print. Image courtesy of the Wallace Arts Trust and Tim Melville.

Kua whakaumutia tētahi pūmanawa taiohi anō ō Russ, e kore nei e kaha kitea, ki tāna punipuni Ā-Motu (te uhi o AZ #61). Nō tōna rangatahitanga, i mau ngā kora i a ia, ā, i ruku pai ki te ao whakataetae o te retireti. “Kāore i ārikarika tōku aroha ki tērā. Āe mārika!” ko tā Russ whakahinātore mai.


Kei te kitea tētahi tama Māori ki ēnei punipuni o mua, e whakatinana ana i ngā moemoeā me ngā maumaharatanga ake o Russ, heoti, i tōna tamarikitanga, kua hanga moe tōna taha Māori. “Nō Piritana tōku matua, he Māori tōku whaea, engari i Pākehā rawa te āhuatanga o tōku tupuranga, nā reira i motukia rawatia au i tōku tuakiri ahurea.”


Hei tā tōna whaea nō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa, ko te moea āpiha Pākehā nō Te Tauaarangi “tētahi rautaki e rangona pai ai te kino o te tāmitanga”. I mārama ia ki te reo Māori, engari kāore i kōrerotia, hei tā Russ. Ka mutu, he Pākehā rawa a Glenfield. “Tokotoru pea ngā kiri parauri ki tōku kura tuarua, mea rawa ake nā, he tohutanga mai nō tētahi, kua kitea hoki he kiri parauri tōku. He rangatahi noa nōu, kua kore e mōhio ki tēnei momo raru hei te tau tītoki.”


Nō te wā kua 15 tau tōna kaumātuatanga i konihi atu ki ngā pāpara kāuta takatāpui ki te tāone, ā, nō te ngahurutau ‘80, “he kāri tuakiri tāu, engari he tāruatanga noa iho”. He whakamaurutanga mō tōna tuakiri muna, heoti i kitea he hoa takatāpui tokorua ōna i mate whakamomori ki korā. I whakaarihia ā-tikanga ēnei maharatanga ōna ki tāna Night Bus.


Russ Flatt, "Go Fund Me", 2019, inkjet photograph on Ilford Cotton Rag. Image courtesy of the artist

“He wāhi iti rawa atu” a Tāmaki i te ngahurutau ‘80 mō tētahi rangatahi takatāpui kua mataku i te whakapua mai ki te ao, ā, i muri ake i te kura, i tae atu ia ki Rānana, ki korā ahu mai ai tētahi ara hōu. “Ka kitea ētahi mea e au, kātahi ka whakaaro ake, ka pai tērā hei whakaahua, nā reira, i takahi au i tērā ara.” He kōrero roa tēnā, heoti ko te hua tinga-kore, ko tētahi umanga tekau tau te roanga, me he kaiwhakaahua pūeru whairawa ki Te Āporo Nui.


Te āhua nei, kua paruhi katoa a Russ mō te ihi me te mana ōna tau o mua, engari “i mīharo rawa atu. Nā konā, kua tuwheratia te tatau ki tēnei ao hōu o te whakaahua, me ōna tikanga.”


I te tau 2008 i hinga tōna matua, kātahi i whakatauria te mate pukupuku ki tōna tuahine rāua ko tōna whaea. “Ehara i a au ki te aroaro ināianei – tae rā anō ki taua wā ko au kē ki te pito. Kua tae ki te wā kia hoki ki te kāinga.” Rā roto i ngā tau e rua i hinga hoki tōna tuahine rāua ko tōna whaea, ā, i tīmata tā Russ “maruāpō pōuri o te wairua”. “I rite tonu te taenga mai a ngā tūruapō me ngā moemoeā ki ahau. Ka oho ake ana me taku hāparangi, tāku auē hoki i tāku kore nei e oti te motu i ēnei tūruapō. Mōku ake, ko te ara noa e wātea mai ana ko te whakaatu ā-ataata nei i ēnei tūāhuatanga.”


Russ Flatt, "He Taonga Te Tamati", 2020. Image courtesy of the artist and Tim Melville.

Tōna tikanga, ko ēnei mātātuhi tāna whakamaheatanga, ā, kua pokarehū hoki hei oroko whakaputanga toi āna. “Kāore au i whakapae ka noho tahi ēnei ki tētahi pakitara, ki tētahi whare toi rānei. I hangaia māku ake, hei huarahi e rangona ai te kaimōhū. Kāore au i meinga te kiri tōraro tae rā anō ki te kotahi tau me te haurua. Kāore rawa au i rite. I pīrangi au kia whakatahangia, kia koke tonu.”


Heoti, ka taka ngā tau, e whakaahua ngaio tonu ana, me te tae ki te kaumātuatanga e 40 ngā tau, i rongo a Russ i tētahi mea e pupū ake ana. I kohia tahitia e ia āna whakaahua whakamaheatanga, kātahi i whakamahia kia whakauru atu ki a Elam, te wāhi i mahia tāna tohu paerunga. “I hiahia au ki te tū hei kaitoi e hanga ana i ngā toi whaitake. He aha i tua atu i te whakaakona e ētahi o ā mātou tohunga ringatoi moroki?”


Ā tōna wā, i whakakitea ēnei whakaahua tuatahi hei Paper Planes. Kei te kitea e tātou tētahi tama Māori, me tētahi matua Tauaarangi Pākehā, e raranga ana rā roto, rā waho hoki i tētahi tuarongo tāone tāera muramura nō te takamuritanga o te ngahurutau ‘70. I te tiro ēnei tūārongo whakautiuti nei te whakaritenga rā roto i tētahi View-master tawhito – me te ngoto whakapōhewa o te tae me te rārangi. E āta pāngia ana te ao pohewa e te ao tūturu, ka mutu, ko tātou tēnā e whakamāharo ana pēnā rānei he moemoeā. “Ko te mea ngahau e pā ana ki te hokinga mahara ko te matawhaiarotanga. Me te aha hoki, ka nuku haere, ka panoni haere hei tōna wā. Kua horahia i a tātou katoa, ā, he wāhi pai hei tūāpapa, engari e kore nei e tautuhi. Kua ngahau au ki te whakaahuatia ngā tuarongo whakaari, ānō nei he mea tūturu kua whakaahuatia. E pīoioi ana i tērā rārangi pīrahirahi o te whakaahua, te pakipūmeka, me te whakaahua kiritangata.”


Russ Flatt, Kōruru (knucklebones), 2020. Photographic image, printed on photorag. Image courtesy of the Wallace Arts Trust.

I tērā tau, i puta tō Russ ihu i te Tohu Kairangi ki ngā Tohu Toi Wallace. E kūkua mai ana e Kōruru (Knucklebones) me he Pietà nō tētahi ao tukupū kē atu – koia tēnei tētahi tamaiti-Karaiti Pākehā e moe ana ki ngā kūwhā o tētahi Mere Māori, me tētahi kōruru ki te ringa? Ko tōna pūrotu tinga-kore nei ānō he tūruapō, engari e kore e pērātia katoatia. “I ōna wā, i tākaro tahi mātou ko tōku tuahine, ko tōku whaea i te kōruru. I whāngaia e te whānau o tōku whaea tētahi tama Pākehā.” Kua whāngai hoki e Russ rāua ko tāna hoa rangatira, a Alistair, tētahi tama Pākehā, a Jules, kua ōrite te kaumātuatanga ki tērā o te tama Kōruru nō tōna whāngaitanga.


Ka tūhono tonu a Russ ki tōna taha Māori, me te aha hoki, e kuraia ana te toi ataata Māori ki Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa­. “He tōmina tōku kia whakahāngaitia āku mahi ki te tikanga Māori. He mea taumaha tēnei, te mārama ki tōku ake wāhi ki konā, me tō tātou ake wāhi hoki hei iwi kotahi, hei Māori. Engari kua whaikaha au i tērā, ka mutu, he wāhi pai mutunga.”


Kātahi ka whakaaweawe tēnei wānanga – mō te tūrangawaewae o Russ – i tētahi urupounamu tōna hangareka nei: E rangona pai ana te harikoa e koe?


He ngū roa, kātahi ka urupare noa mai a Russ, “Āe”. Ka mutu, koia tērā tētahi o ngā “āe” whakapono rawa atu e tinga ana ka rangona e koe.



I whakamāoritia tēnei kōrero e Taurapa Matiu

Diana Simumpande ngā whakaahua kiritangata


This story is available in English. Read it here.