Ka Mua Ka Muri: Inspiring climate resilience through creativity

Thursday 8 February 2024

A collaborative week-long event in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact aims to ignite a resilient future through a fusion of art, design, music and storytelling.

Toi Āria team at a family’s Gisborne home (one year ago post Cyclone Gabrielle’s devastation) and today.

A collaborative week-long event in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of Cyclone Gabrielle’s impact aims to ignite a resilient future through a fusion of art, design, music and storytelling.

Ka Mua Ka Muri runs from February 9 to 16 in communities around the Tairāwhiti region and is the result of a partnership between Toi Āria: Design for Public Good, a centre for social impact design at Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, and Te Weu Charitable Trust.

The free event includes a two-day research symposium, community hui focusing on local research conducted across the past year and a creative collaboration and exhibition relating to regional climate and community initiatives.

A collection of creative minds have lent their expertise and passion to the climate resilience projects, with the aim of using their creativity to elevate extreme weather preparedness discussions and support local groups actively engaged in sustainable land use and adaptation planning.

The guest participants are a mix of visiting creatives and local artists, writers and designers who have been matched with more than a dozen local community initiatives and projects. The weekend will see the teams work together through workshopping ideas, creative expression and the production of artistic works, culminating in a public exhibition and performance event at Midway Community Hub at 6pm, Sunday 11 February.

Head of Toi Āria Professor Anna Brown says she felt compelled to take action to support Tairāwhiti after witnessing the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle on her family.

“I wasn’t quite sure how to help but using my design skills and networks to get alongside some of the amazing communities of Tairāwhiti feels like a tangible way to support a region that still has a long way to go in the recovery journey.”

While it remains to be seen what will be created across the weekend, Professor Brown says she’s looking forward to the process and outcomes.

“We are bringing some of the country’s top creative talent, including a jazz singer, a cartoonist, a multimedia designer, a social media expert and a number of creative writers and journalists to jump into creative processes with Tairāwhiti’s artists and communities.”

Other Massey whānau involved include Senior Lecturer in the School of Design David Cook, School of Art Lecturer Johnathan Kay, Toi Āria Designer and Illustrator Jean Donaldson and Toi Āria Junior Designer Hanna Breurkes.

Find out more about the event here.

Guest participants:

Professor Anna Brown: A design researcher, educator, and founder of Toi Āria: Design for Public Good, Professor Anna Brown brings her expertise in participatory design to the forefront. Her commitment to delivering public good through design aligns seamlessly with the project's goals. Professor Brown will engage with local communities to explore the potential of design in driving social change.

Toby Morris: A prominent New Zealand cartoonist and social commentator, Toby Morris is renowned for his non-fiction online comics addressing social issues. His work, such as "On A Plate" and collaborations on COVID-19 graphics, has reached global audiences. Morris's unique ability to communicate complex issues through visuals promises to be an invaluable resource in conveying the urgency of climate change.

Wallace Gollan: Jazz singer and graphic designer known for her vibrant fusion of soul, hip-hop, and pop, Wallace Gollan brings a unique blend of music and design to the project. Wallace's eclectic artistic identity and captivating live performances promise to infuse energy into the collaborative efforts.

Jonathan Kay: Photographic artist Jonathan Kay, a lecturer in photography at Massey University, blends art and science to visualise the unseen aspects of landscapes. His projects, such as Cryosphere and Ice Field, actively engage with climate change concerns. Jonathan’s ability to merge artistic expression with scientific insights offers a compelling perspective on the environmental challenges facing Tairāwhiti.

Johanna Mechen: As a photographer, Johanna Mechen explores performativity and participation in photographic practice. Her focus on site-based investigations aims to communicate ecological, historical, and cultural stories. Johanna’s multidimensional approach adds depth to the project's narrative, emphasising the intersection of art and environmental understanding.

Tim Corballis: Tim Corballis is a Te Whanganui a Tara-based writer and art collaborator, and a senior lecturer in Science in Society, from Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of five novels, including most recently the literary science fiction book Our Future is in the Air. He has a background in mathematics, philosophy and creative writing, with a PhD in the theoretical humanities.

Jean Donaldson: Designer and illustrator Jean Donaldson, with a Master of Design from Massey University, focuses on creating positive change through her work. Her commitment to the relationship between design and conservation positions her as a catalyst for environmentally conscious initiatives within Tairāwhiti.

Emma Bossley: Emma Bossley, a Digital Producer at For Purpose, is a seasoned project manager with a passion for digital content and events that create positive social change. Her experience in collaborating on meaningful projects makes her a valuable asset to the initiative, adding a digital perspective to the multifaceted approach to climate action.

Hanna Breurkes: Designer and illustrator Hanna Breurkes, a recent Massey graduate with honours, is a member of the International Society of Typographic Designers. Her work, such as the interactive book ‘Unearthed’, demonstrates a commitment to fostering curiosity and connection between people and their environments through design.

Ingrid Horrocks: Ingrid Horrocks is a writer with a focus on ecological themes, contributes her extensive experience in creative writing to the project. Her recent book, Where We Swim, blends memoir, essay, and nature writing, offering a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of human experience and the environment.

David Cook: A photographer with a socially engaged photo-documentary practice, David Cook collaborates with communities to tell their stories. His project, Ko te Reo ō Ngā Tāngata/The People’s Voice (a collaboration with Professor Anna Brown), exemplifies his commitment to amplifying voices within society.

Kirsten Browne: Visual Communication Design graduate Kirsten Browne, with over two decades of practice, embraces constraints as opportunities for positive change. Her evolving toolkit, beyond traditional design, allows her to explore diverse mediums and innovate towards a better world.

Michelle Duff: Award-winning journalist Michelle Duff, recognised for her work on health, gender, and environmental issues, brings her investigative prowess to the project. Her commitment to exposing societal issues aligns with the initiative's goal of raising awareness and driving positive change.

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