Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust


Don’t just look at the pictures

Atholl Anderson and Brian Allingham were responsible for getting the Ngāi Tahu tribal rock art project kick started. Twenty-five years later, on different sides of the Pacific, both Gerard and Chris have also been immersed in rock art heritage. The pair first met a few years ago at a rock art symposium in Barcelona, and immediately realised the parallels in both their research and their whakapapa. In May 2016, with their PhDs finished, they got together in British Columbia to support a local Indian band excavate at an important rock shelter, and to talk at the Nlaka’pamux Rock Art Conference, hosted by the Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council, in Lytton, British Columbia.

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Rock Art gets rocking!

TE RERENGA – THE FLIGHT is an acoustic rock musical featuring 80 intriguing and detailed “Flatso” puppets inspired by Māori rock art sites in the Aoraki region. It’s a re-telling of the Ngāi Tahu legend of Pourangahua the Birdman and his epic flight to Aotearoa in search of his own kind.

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The first language of Te Waipounamu

Rock art is one of the oldest and most significant of the traditional arts, and considered by some an early form of written language: meaningful marks left for others to read. Some of those marks offer a glimpse of the world in the time of moa and pouākai (Haast’s eagle). Earlier that morning I’d witnessed a drawing of the giant eagle soaring across a cave roof at Frenchman’s Gully. In this landscape of hawks and falcons, it’s easy to imagine the artist looking up to see that vast shadow pass above.

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