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Bronze 2021 People / Culture

Whiti Te Ra

  • Photographer
    Axel Bernstorff
  • Agency / Studio
    Creative Response World
  • Prize
    Bronze in People / Culture

"Whiti te ra"('into the light') is a Maori expression taken from the (1820's) poem "Ka Mate" by the Maori chief Te Rauparaha, written to celebrate his escape from his enemies. In a contemporary sense it also represents a celebratory resurgence and growth of Maori culture. Part of this revitalisation is moko, Maori tattoo, and most striking amongst this is mataora, facial moko. Moko, are Maori symbols applied in ink on a Maori by a Maori artist, a tohunga. Most symbols are tapu, or sacred and not worn by non Maori, as this proud and evolved culture protects its unique heritage.