Mixed Thoughts

I had written a whole post about another kaupapa (topic) before I wrote this and then I got really angry when I saw something on TV which made me want to talk about respect. Then I heard some other korero from a couple who were one of the first whanau to find out that their son had passed away as a result of the earthquake. SO! So many thoughts going through my mind at the moment…
koru hand painted rocks
Words such as healing past, respect, whanau, death and grief all coming to mind at this time…Perhaps I will leave speaking about those things for future posts…
But for now I honour life and birth and wish my sister a happy birthday!! She turns 40 today and this day is even more special because she just gave birth to my niece last night at 7.59pm! So a special day for all our whanau.
It seems like only yesterday that we were kids and she was trying to lock me in the wardrobe and was pulling faces at me around the corner. Time flies and before we know it we’ve grown up (hopefully) and we’re adults! My sister and I had our fair share of sibling rivalry when we were young, but at some point in our lives we do have to grow up and heal those relationships to fully embrace life and live. Ra whanau ki a koe sis, ka nui te aroha ki a koe…


A short post from me today but an important one about community. I’m overwhelmed at the amount of support coming in to Otautahi from the rest of Aotearoa and around the world but I love seeing how the community of Otautahi have rallied together to clean up, feed themselves, help each other and rebuild their lives.
koru hand painted rocks
I listened to Mark Soloman this morning on Marae speak about the importance of community as has Bob Parker the mayor of Otautahi (who I think should be Prime Minister!!) and it is times like this when community is most important.
It’s easy for me to talk about this from the comfort of my own home, miles away from where all the action is but its hard to disconnect yourself from this. Aotearoa is a small country, when something as major as this happens, the whole community is affected.
But community is important even before disaster strikes so why does it take a disaster before people actually realise the importance of community? That beneath race and religion and all those things that distinguish us from one another, we are all human and if we were to work together every day in our communities, imagine what could be achieved? Not as easy as it sounds but worth thinking about…
I think this is why this rock today is a burst of colour! Seven colours in total! And I’m not into the habit of painting flowers or painting in this way but this is how it came out! This stone is also a very rough stone with lots of texture…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow,
Jo x
PS – I know there are a few of my FB friends and whanau in Chch at this time, would love to hear from them about what has been happening out in their communities…aroha x

Sacred Geometry

I’ve been trying to think of a way of describing my kohatu and the depth of their meaning for me. Last night at Pecha Kucha a woman came up to me and said, “I love your rocks, they are sacred geometry.” I almost jumped out of my chair (well actually I was sitting on the floor as I do lol) These words rang so true for me…
A lot of people look at what I do and say how much they love the Maori designs and I have to say now that my art, my paintings, anything that I create is not Maori art. I am inspired by nature, people, places and events just like my ancestors were but the symbols and markings that I make on my rocks are universal, they are not drawn on to the rock, they come out as I am painting. Yes the koru or spiral features in my work but this symbol for me is not just Maori, it is universal.
koru hand painted rock
When I was young, I was often lost in watching clouds float by in the sky, I would lay on the earth looking into the sky to see what shapes I could see. I used to wonder in the bush alone and make my home there, being with nature and the many life-forms and shapes around me. I see koru in water, in many parts of nature as I imagine other people do.
Someone asked me last night, “what kind of masking tape do you use?” I had a bit of a giggle to myself and thought what a cute question! If I used masking tape, I tell you now that it would be a disaster and I probably wouldn’t create the work that I do if I used it. To be honest, if I was to use masking tape, its because I don’t trust myself. I can draw and paint a straighter line free-hand than I can with a ruler – believe me I’ve tried!! And the one time that I tried drawing my design on to the rock before painting it, that was a disaster too!!!
I am not a trained artist or photographer and I am so glad that I never studied within four walls in an institution because I feel that would have hindered my creativity. I value education and I think it is important but creativity, art and anything that feeds our spirit needs to be uninhibited and free…
This rock is full of life and colour. It reminds me of the beautiful aboriginal art that tells stories of land and environment. We were talking about aboriginal artists last night to a woman living in Queensland who had come home to Gisborne to look after her mother, so perhaps inspired by this korero but also my anticipation for when I will be in Brisbane in June. The lines that I have created on the rock are combined with the markings made by nature. It is so easy to just paint over them but this time I wanted to leave them there…

Today’s rock is for Lina whose birthday it is today. Lina lives just around the corner from us and do you think that we have actually visited her yet? No! So now I have no excuse, I have to deliver this special kohatu to her today! Ra whanau ki a koe e hoa, great to see you last night. Arohanui, Jo x


This rock took me ten minutes to paint. It just came out and before I knew it, it was over. As I was painting it, it reminded me of the calm after the storm. It was very soothing and healing to paint which is perhaps why it just came out the way it did. It was good for me because I’ve been quite emotional over the past few days with what has happened down in Otautahi and feeling so grateful at the same time for everything I have. A very meditative and soothing kohatu.
koru hand painted rocks
I spoke at Pecha Kucha tonight and it was so lovely to share this rock a day project with everyone there. There were about 200 people which was fantastic for a small city like Gisborne!!! And the Dome Cinema is such an awesome venue and of course they run a pretty cool outfit there too. I had some wonderful feedback and I gave a rock away that I painted on the 18th of Feb to a woman who was sitting right next door to us who knew a family who had lost a child that was born on the 18th of Feb. So a very special gift for that whanau…
I love this rock. I know when the designs, colours and korero come out straight away, that this is a special rock…And the rocks are are all special because they come from the land and carry the mauri or energy of the land.
And this rock today is for Noeline and her husband who celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary but they’ve actually been together for 25 years! How cool is that?!
The colours of this rock are digeridoo brown, buffalo brown and purple. And I photographed this rock in amongst the daisies! Making daisy chains is a favourite pastime of mine, but also not that long ago when I was living in Opunake I used to purposely grow my grass long so that I could lie in amongst the daisies and dandelions and take photographs…
Hei apopo – until tomorrow!
Jo x

Tumanako – Hope

It’s two days after the earthquake and I can’t help but base my korero around this.
As I write this, the rain is pelting down outside here in Gisborne and I think about the need for water in Otautahi, but at the same time I am so glad that it is not raining there at the moment…I can only ask that the elements hold off and allow rescue and recovery to take place so that people can either take their loved ones home or send them off in peace…
I have plenty of water here and all I want to do is send it down the line because the need there is so much more. The water that we have running out of the tap is SO precious and every time I turn the tap on I am reminded of this limited resource.
koru hand painted rocks
The rain also reminds me of Ranginui’s tears for Papatuanuku, his love for her being expressed, mourning their separation…and I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I believe this is Papatuanuku warning that if we continue to deplete our earth’s resources and disrespect mother nature this will continue…
Right now, I treasure and value all that I have and am grateful that I have my family, my friends and a roof over my head…and as my dear friend Marcia in Arizona has said moments ago in a comment on yesterday’s rock, “…hope is our way of looking at the future when we want a positive outcome. Love is our way of acting now to insure that evolution.” Thanks Marcia.
Much love and peace for our earth and our people.
jo x

Te Wai Pounamu

It is the day after the earthquake and I’ve seen so many things today; loss of life, destruction, grief, but also hope. I don’t think there is anyone in Aotearoa who doesn’t know someone in Christchurch at this time and I can only say that our thoughts are with all especially those who have lost loved ones or still wait for news and hope that they are alive.
This rock is for hope, hope for the future and that we are resilient enough to get through this. There is overwhelming support from all around the world which has shown the strength of human nature to band together in times of need. We have seen proof that this is possible.
koru hand painted rock
The days and months ahead will be tough ones and the journey to rebuild lives will continue on for years. One thing is for sure, people will never forget, especially those that experienced first hand the full impact of mother nature’s power.
I use Te Wai Pounamu our Maori word for the South Island because it reminds us of how special this land is, how special this whenua is that we call home. And although we may not have felt the earthquake in other parts of the country we are all feeling the pain, the grief, the fear and the uncertainty of the people in Christchurch at this time. But we are a strong breed of people and will rise again from this event. Te Wai Pounamu – the healing waters of greenstone, will continue to flow…
Much aroha, peace and healing to all at this time,
Jo x