Even when I arrived early, the space was cut by silence. There was an electric feeling in the air as vocalist Taisha Tari (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi) assumed her place on the balcony overlooking the gallery. Distracted by the anticipation, I nearly missed Taane Mete (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Koroki) gracefully step forward into the middle of the space. And so it began, with his pūrerehua (a traditional taonga puoro instrument), settling the space into the performance. Through his gentle and fluid movements, he occupied the space in its entirety.
Stephen Small had his fingers poised on the piano, waiting consciously for the signal. Alongside Taisha’s enveloping vocals, swirling movements of Taane on the wooden floorboards and Stephen’s elegant playing, we were presented with the merging of colours. The space was a crisp white next to Taisha’s velvet crimson dress. Between her and Taane, a connection unfolded as his simple black suit transitioned into a deep red.
Conceived for Matariki, the opportunity “to be together” was presented as a vehicle to heal the unseen yearning for art we have missed during the pandemic.
We came away renewed.