The work for Water, Peace, Power at Parihaka seeks to acknowledge both the tangata whenua (people of the land) of Parihaka and the yenbena (Proud, Strong, Aboriginal People) of Yorta Yorta Nation. This site specific work is the first stage of the Way of the Turtle project, which focuses on cultural and community empowerment, skill sharing and finding the interconnections with other cultural perspectives. The project considers many layers of connection between water, land and people. The contiguity of the work includes the Dhungala creation story in Yorta Yorta and English languages, and data obtained via community engagement via TurtleSAT. This work acknowledges one of the Yorta Yorta totems, the Bayadherra (turtle) and the importance of the river to all life.
The Yorta Yorta belief is that “we are the land and the land is we”. The river represents our bloodstream, the mist represents our sweat and the rain represents our tears. In saying this, we also acknowledge the agreement made between the Crown and the Whanganui iwi which has given the Whanganui River legal rights as a sentient being.
“We are the river and the river is we”