Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

I Ruia Mai I Rangiatea


The title is a reference to the words handed down concerning the place, Rangiatea, as being a place of dispersal in the Pacific towards Aotearoa. “E kore au e ngaro; he kakano i ruia mai i Rangiatea” (I shall never be lost; I am the seed which was sown from Rangiatea).

The background of this print uses a weaving pattern that is suggestive of the sails of waka (canoes) as they pass over Te Moana Nui a Kiwa - Kiwa’s Great Ocean. The bird shapes, scattered over the land area and edging into the sea, represent of our ancestors stopping off at Rangiatea on their sea travels before heading to Aotearoa. The elliptic shape is a reference to a waka (canoe) shape, or seed shape, both of which are symbols of whakapapa (lineage), and is pointed southwards towards Aotearoa.

The lowest section of the print has lines radiating out to make a veiled reference to the Ara Moana - another weaving pattern used in taniko (ornamental borders on cloak)- meaning Sea Pathway. Taniko refers to a twisted weaving process of fine fibres making intricate patterns, traditionally used on prestigious garments.

The circular motifs that make a semi-circle around the ‘casting off’ place of the kakano / waka (seed / canoe) are a reference to the tapu (sacred) nature of a place that was a gathering of chiefs, and the rituals associated with correct process before an undertaking.

Briefly, the underlying theme of the print is genealogy, and the connections we have made with each other over time and place.

Gabrielle Belz

Gabrielle Belz


Ngā Puhi, Te Ātiawa

(1947- )

Initially trained as a commercial artist, Gabrielle is now a full-time painter and printmaker. She continues to support and promote art in the local and wider community as current chair of Te Atinga (Committee of Contemporary Māori Visual Arts) of Toi Māori Aotearoa, a founding member of Kauwae (National Māori Women’s Art Collective), trustee of Toi o Manukau, a long-serving member of Nga Puna Waihanga (a national community-oriented organization that supports all Māori arts), a founding member of the artists’ co-operative Pukeko, and she serves on the Creative Community Funds committee for Manukau City.