An exhibition this week at Thistle Hall in Cuba Street re-imagines Wellington as a Te Reo city: signs, names, buildings – all in Te Reo. The exhibition has 40 or so photos, mostly from the Wellington region.
The artist Aidan Wojtas explains:
My exhibition Reo Tū, Reo Ora explores how Wellington would look if Te Reo Māori was again our first language – our reo rangatira. I imagine an alternate future where Te Reo is normalised, our signage is in Te Reo, and English/Reo Pākēhā, although welcome and used, is no longer our default.
Seeds of inspiration have come from a range of places, such as the Four Square in Tokomaru Bay, with its Te Reo Māori only signage, and Ōtaki and Rotorua declaring intent to be a bilingual township and city respectively. More recently for this exhibition, I have taken heart from Wellington’s own Te Reo strategy.
It is my dream that my daughter grows into a world that treasures her language, and that all New Zealanders can benefit from the richness of that world.
Toku reo toku ohooho, toku reo toku māpihi maurea.
Born in the South Island, I’ve lived nearly half my life in Wellington. I balance intellectual, creative and problem-solving interests. I grew up playing with my father’s Olympus cameras so my own interest in photography wasn’t a huge surprise. After doing some wedding photography and a short blip of commercial, I now enjoy having photography projects of my own agenda to work with. By day I work with a team of software specialists helping reform tax systems: photography is a creative outlet that takes me out into the world.
My Te Reo journey is that of a late-bloomer: I’ve been learning Te Reo for several years and currently through Te Ataarangi. My connection to my iwi is recent and a new journey. I have much to learn. I humbly present this project, which stands on the shoulders of the many skilled people who have graciously helped it come to life.
10-6 till 29th, except from midday on ANZAC day.