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Te Wairoa: The Long Water

After finishing her Visual Arts at AUT, postgrad student Lea Schlatter put on her MPhil show at All Goods. Her work looks at bodies of water and she drew on te Whau river in much of her research.

13 – 29 FEBRUARY 2020

I visited my grandmother in Switzerland who told me; “Ich Galube diis Dihei isch i Neuseeland” (I think your home is in New Zealand). This is a phrase that I return to since the Swiss summer of 2017.

As a daughter of two first-generation Swiss immigrants that have chosen to live in Aotearoa, I have often had questions about my transnationality. My research has developed from my dual relationship with Aotearoa and Switzerland, my country of origin. The work looks at bodies of water to visualise and explore my presence in Aotearoa as tauiwi (foreigner/immigrant), and being tāwāhi (distant) to my ancestral homelands. While the Rhine runs through Schaffhausen, Switzerland (where my family are from), Te Wairoa (The long Water) runs down from the Kaimai to Tauranga harbour. When moving through these rivers I realise that in thinking of one it reminds me of the other.