Enduring rivers of light: waters of memory, Aotearoa & Āniwaniwa

Charles Robert Eliot Dawson


This essay considers the major New Zealand installation artwork Āniwaniwa, by Māori New Zealand artists Brett Graham (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura) and Rachel Rakena (Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi) The paper contextualises the installation around text about dams that inundate homeplaces, and refers briefly to the indigenous politics of water and memory in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand.

That Āniwaniwa received its most international exposure in a thirteenth-century salt warehouse at the 2007 Venice Biennale, where the viewer was invited to see the work whilst supine on the floors. It installation is testament to The artists’ innovation and calibre, as well as the evocative appeal of the work.


Maori art; Aniwaniwa; Maori and indigenous rights to water and rivers; Brett Graham; Rachel Rakena; rivers; cultural memory; giant dams; cultural loss; salmon; FirstNations canadian peoples; Native America and Maori experiences of Dams; art installations

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