BIRGIT KRIPPNER PHOTOGRAPHY
This ongoing project comprises photographs during Krippner’s regular visits with Ngāi Tūhoe a Māori iwi (“tribe”) of New Zealand, also known as “the children of the mist”.
Tame Iti, the high profile Tūhoe Māori activist and artist, which was exhibited at Suite Gallery in New Zealand in February 2015, and in San Francisco at the Harvey Milk Photography Center, in April 2015. ITI – the Tūhoe meaning of which is “humble or in the background”.
During the colonial period the Crown confiscated Te Urewera, Tūhoe’s ancestral homeland in the eastern North Island. In the 20th century the Tūhoe people suffered extreme social deprivation – ravaged by famine and disease. Especially hard hit were the children — school records from the 1920s and 1930s show that 75% of those who died were less than 25 years old.
Despite this adversity, the Tūhoe people have demonstrated the mana (“indestructible spiritual power”) to preserve their Māori identity like few
other iwi — including the continued and uninterrupted use of their native language by a very high percentage of their population.
Krippner’s photos in this exhibition document a very important time in Tuhoe’s history. Tūhoe’s 2014 treaty settlement with the Crown returned
Te Urewera, the spiritual home of the Tūhoe people, and marks the transition from grievance to a future promising greater opportunity and
Krippner’s photographs provide an intimate lens on Tame Iti, the Tuhoe people and Te Urewera, and serves as a document of the promise
of new beginnings.