My lakes, my mountains


Shannon Te Ao, Untitled (after Rakaihautu), 2012. single channel video, color, sound, 3 min 26 sec. cinematography Iain Frengley

‘This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty’ declared English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, when he visited Lake Como in 1818. The lake is in the Northern Italian region, adjacent to the hills that introduce the Prealps, where I am from, and my family before me. The English translation of my surname would be ‘bank’, of a river, a lake or the sea.
From my understanding, it is customary in a pōwhiri (the Māori formal ceremony that welcomes visitors to a marae or meeting place) to recite one’s genealogy, starting from the family relationship to the mountain ranges and waterways and commenting on the spiritual link believed to exist between people and their place of origin.

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