An Unfolding of Time: Aroha Gossage’s Whenua
ART NEW ZEALAND, Number 162 / Winter 2017
“Aroha Gossage made her first art in Pakiri, 85 kilometres north of Auckland, where she first grew up in a house nestled in the dunes.
As a four-year-old she made life-sized sculptures of birds and figures out of Pakiri River’s clay and mud, working with her cousins and three older sisters. Pakiri has a broad surf beach — dredged to provide sand for Mission Bay in Auckland — and a sleepy valley where dense bush made way for dairy farms. It’s both physical and ancestral home for Gossage, a place steeped in the history of whanau, hapu, iwi and myth.
Her work is located in Pakiri and Hauturu (Little Barrier), physically, spiritually and conceptually. The heart of that work is wairua (spiritual essence) and mauri (life force). Without whakapapa, the unbroken generational connection to the past, its people and its land, Gossage’s practice would be unmoored: her kaupapa as an artist is what lies beneath.”