St Paul st Gallery AUT

2018 Symposium: Ko au te au/I am the ocean

2018 Symposium: Ko au te au/I am the ocean

Ko au te au/I am the ocean

Co-convened by Charlotte Huddleston and Balamohan Shingade

Pioneer Women’s Hall, Ellen Melville Centre

24 – 25 August 2018

$24.00 *For admission to the Symposium, you must attend both days. If the cost is a barrier to your attendance, then please get in touch with us at

Ko au te au / I am the ocean is a two-day Symposium which begins a collective enquiry that will continue into 2019 through all ST PAUL St programmes. This collective enquiry is shaped by three interrelated kaupapa: knowledge, language, and love.[1] The kaupapa relate to, are conditioned by, and exist within each other.

Now in its seventh year, the annual Symposium has consistently focused on knowledges and questions of knowing – of how we come to know, and cultural conceptions within which knowledge is defined. Knowledge is embedded in practice, language and culture; it cannot be decontextualized. In addressing this we attend to lawyer Moana Jackson’s reminder that “if knowledge is power then we need to be clear about whose knowledge we are using or defining...”[2] With a focus on artistic and curatorial practices, we ask questions such as: what is the relationship between knowledge, knowing and understanding?

Language too is a significant ground of power relations. Language is culture; world-views are expressed in language, in its words and structures, its forms and limits. In thinking about language we consider the annihilating effects of suppression as per Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o’s ‘cultural bomb’ as a weapon of imperialism, asking who speaks and who is heard, what stories are told, who is telling them, and what do we ask with the language we have?[3]

Love most clearly expresses being in relation to and with; “knowing something is bound to how we develop a relationshipwith it.”[4] The way we understand, view, engage with, deploy and value concepts and practices of language and knowledge reveals our attitude. An attitude of love values the interconnectedness of ourselves to each other and to a bigger universal presence, making possible “an epistemology of spirit”as described by scholar Manulani Aluli Meyer.[5]

Ko au te au / I am the ocean begins with a mihi whakatau by Dr Valance Smith followed by short presentations on each kaupapa by three invited conversation partners: Ioana Gordon-Smith on knowledge, Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua with Ara Ariki Houkamau on language, and Bruce E. Phillips with Jordana Bragg on love. Local historian, storyteller and orator Pita Turei will lead a hīkoi focusing on the now hidden waterways and springs around central Auckland. Facilitator and art educator Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi will lead a group session to discuss and decide the protocols to guide the following day’s enquiry into the kaupapa. The evening ends with a screening of TERROR NULLIUS by Soda_Jerk, followed by a shared meal.

The 2018 Symposium is the first public phase of the collective enquiry titled Two Oceans at Once – named from a story by Eduardo Galeano, where he retells the commonly known history of the world in 600 short episodes.[6] Two Oceans at Once takes on the impetus of retelling within the cultural context of Aotearoa New Zealand, where 2018 is the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, and 2019 is the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Captain James Cook. The Symposium and the collective enquiry reflect our constant state of becoming, and ‘coming into relationship with’ our context, as embodied by manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga. In this enquiry, attending to both local and global contexts and questioning established thinking and practices, the intention is to activate structural and programmatic change within dominant institutionalised attitudes and their manifest inequity.

[1] Here kaupapa is used in multiple senses encompassed by the word and its translation into English: platform, layer, topic, purpose, scheme, programme, raft. See John C. Moorfield, Te Aka Online Māori Dictionary:

[2] Moana Jackson, “He Manawa Whenua” In He Manawa Conference Proceedings: Inaugural Issue, edited by Leonie Pihema, Herearoha Skipper and Jilian Tipene, 62. Hamilton: Te Kotahi Research Institute, University of Waikato, 2015. Accessed 5 April 2018

[3] Ngũgĩ wa Thiongʼo Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, 
London : J. Currey ; Portsmouth, N.H. : Heinemann, 1986.

[4] Manulani Aluli Meyer, ‘Indigenous and authentic: Hawaiian epistemology and the triangulation of meaning’, in Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies, Sage Publications 2008/2014 (online), 11. Accessed 22 March 2018

[5] Ibid. 4.

[6] Eduardo Galeano, ‘Americans’ in Mirrors: Stories of almost everyone, Trans. Mark Fried, New York: Nation Books, 2009.



Friday 24 August: Pioneer Women’s Hall

2.00pm: Arrival and registration

2.15pm: Mihi whakatau by Dr. Valance Smith and introduction by Co-convener Charlotte Huddleston.

2.30pm: 15-minute presentations by three conversation partners on three kaupapa: Knowledge: Ioana Gordon-Smith; Language: Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua with Ara Ariki Houkamau; Love: Bruce E. Phillips with Jordana Bragg

3.30pm: Hīkoi around Auckland CBD with Pita Turei

4.30pm: Discussion facilitated by Iokapeta Magele-Suamasi to agree on and set the kaupapa and tikanga for guiding and grounding discussion on Saturday.

5.30pm: 30-minute break with light refreshments

6.00pm: Screening: TERROR NULLIUS by SODA_JERK (the Auckland premiere of this film will be in July at the New Zealand International Film Festival)

7.00pm: Dinner and conversation

9:30pm: Exit

Saturday 25 August: Pioneer Women’s Hall

11.15am: Introduction by Co-convener Balamohan Shingade.

11.30am: Session one, three groups: Knowledge, Language, Love led by conversation partners.

12:30pm: Lunch provided

1:30pm: Session two, three groups: Knowledge, Language, Love led by conversation partners.

2.30pm: 15-minute break with light refreshments.

2:45pm: Session three, three groups: Knowledge, Language, Love led by conversation partners.

3.45pm: 30-min wrap up: Brief feedback from conversation partners, last comments.

4:30pm: Exit

5:00pm: Optional: Conversations continued at Vivace


The catering will be vegetarian. Please get in touch with us in advance if you have any special food requirements the caterers must be aware of.


National Services Te Paerangi is pleased to support the ST PAUL St Symposium 2018 by offering travel subsidies up to a value of $300. Click here to visit the Travel Subsidy Grant webpage for more information, qualifying criteria and to download an application form. Please apply directly to after 1 July 2018.