|Article in the Cologne daily newspaper celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Bounty Mutiny|
Thursday, January 30, 2014
|Madzia, Pauline, Simon|
I was tickled pink that they came to meet me and conduct interviews. What's more, it's much more fun to discover a new city in the company of new friends than discovering it alone.
Simon is a talented young Danish-Australian filmmaker, and Madzia is a Polish animator, teacher, and artist extraordinaire. She has long had a fascination with the Bounty story and tall ships - which led her to work for six months as a deckhand on that wonderful replica before it was lost. Simon and Levi are both descendants - Levi is Rowan Metcalfe's nephew - who wrote the historical novel 'The Transit of Venus', about Mauatua. Rowan's 'Transit of Venus'
|by Madzia Bryll|
|by Madzia Bryll|
|by Levi Carthew|
This exhibition finishes on the 27th of April 2014 ... so if you are in Europe, and are interested in all things Pacific - this is a magnificent exhibition: www.made-in-oceania.com
My presentation was scheduled straight after the symposium 'Made in Oceania, Social and Cultural Meaning, Conservation and Presentation of Oceanic Tapa'. I was delighted to reconnect with curators and collectors that I had been in contact with over the years. Mark Nesbitt from Kew Gardens, Julie Adams who is now at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, Adrienne Kaeppler of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and the collector Mark Blackburn. By coincidence, we have even been able to identify another Pitcairn tapa in Germany ...
The previous post shows a YouTube video filmed by Simon Quintal of my presentation which was followed by a gallery talk at the area reserved for the Pitcairn tapa which was accompanied by the lovely video made by Arthur and James Baysting, which was continually showed during the day.
The Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum exhibited the Pitcairn tapa cloths in a Pacific context - where the Bounty narrative is usually placed in a European context. Reworking this narrative in this way is an important step forward ...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Meralda Warren has become Pitcairn Island’s most original artist. In 2007 Meralda decided to learn and revive the art of tapa making there and exhibited for the first time in 2008 in Tahiti during the Tahiti Bounty Day festivities and here on Norfolk Island in 2009 with the ‘Ahu Sistas Jean Clarkson, Sue Pearson and Pauline Reynolds. Since then she has developed her practice even further and her tapa paintings are now held in collections all over the world.
Her latest tapa paintings were recently on display at the Te Papa Museum Maori and Pacific Textiles Symposium where she was the keynote speaker along with Pauline Reynolds. They were also exhibited at the British High Commissioner’s Residence during a Showcase Event built around Meralda’s presence in Wellington. This event focused on a ‘Positive Pitcairn’ and many of New Zealand’s important tourism movers and shakers were present. Norfolk Island Museum is delighted to host Meralda’s new works with an opening this Tuesday.
Making tapa is one of the most difficult things I have ever done ... it requires strength, skill, patience ...
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
|Meralda Warren, Keynote Speaker for the Pacific|
|Pauline Reynolds - speaker for the Pacific|
|Pauline - speaker for the Pacific|
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Last week Wally interviewed Vaea and Alain from French Polynesia, a charming and elegant couple that came to Norfolk Island for a week’s holiday recently. They had only planned to come here for a week, but after enjoying themselves so much, decided to stay an extra week.
On their arrival, Tihoti and Oihanu went to meet them and a friendship was sealed – Vaea and Alain could hardly believe their eyes when a couple of Tahitians rolled up on their doorstep on this little Pacific island … hardly what they had expected.
And the surprises kept coming, both ways! It turned out that Vaea had had a role in the 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando. She was given the role of Teraura, Ed Young’s first wife. Vaea was only 16 years old at the time, about the same age as Teraura was when she joined the Bounty. For Vaea and her friends, playing in the movie was an eye-opening experience – she had been raised in a strict Adventist home.
But Vaea’s favourite memory isn’t of movie stars or their antics, but of the shooting of the arrival of Bounty at Matavai Bay as hundreds of cast paddled out in traditional va’a outriggers to greet the especially made vessel. A grand part of the population was employed for making this movie, and gave considerable income to many families during the filming in Tahiti. Later, some of the filming was moved to Hollywood studios where Vaea and several other women travelled to complete the film. Certainly, despite what the film critics might say, the film put Tahiti firmly on the American holiday map.
Later in her carrier she became runner up to Miss Tahiti, and actually represented Tahiti carrying the crown to international events during the year. She later pursued a career as a model working for the top agencies in France.
But before anything else, Vaea is a dancer. She had learned to dance with Madeleine Moua - the woman who resurrected Tahitian dance in 1956 with her group Heiva Tahiti. In times of old, dance depicted many sacred events, but the voyaging Europeans of the 1700s popularised a half-truth of bare-breasted women with little understanding of the dance or its meaning. What was once the rhapsody of Joseph Banks’ journals with his misunderstandings of so many events during his Tahiti days (and which would perhaps lead to the HMS Bounty to being manned by 46 volunteers - something unheard of in the times of conscription), would later become the despair of the first English missionaries who arrived in 1797, only eight years after Bounty’s departure.
By 1819, the missionaries had such a hold over Tahiti that they had outlawed what they described as the ‘lascivious’ dancing. Dancers still performed, but clothed head-to-toe in white garments so as not to ‘offend’ visitors.
Tahiti owes a great deal to the legendary Madeleine Moua who brought back a sense of nobility to the dance reminding us of its sacred and noble beginnings rather than merely an act of seduction – an untruth that goes back to those first contact days with the Europeans.
Vaea remembers with happiness her days of dancing with the legendary ‘Madame Moua’. She vividly remembers her strict teaching style which brought out the best in the girls. Vaea was one of her front-row dancers.
So what is it that makes the love of dance greater than having walked the high fashion catwalks of Paris, or acting alongside the likes of Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard and Tarita Teriipaia? Vaea says that within Ori Tahiti or Tahitian dance, you can lose yourself. Lose your worries and leave everything behind, and that dance is symbolic of liberation, emancipation, of being free.
During her holiday, she spent some time with the young Baunti Beauties who have been working hard on their technique with a view to going to Tahiti in April next year for a 2 week dance intensive with Heipua Lehartel.
On Pitcairn, our foremothers would occasionally dance for sailors of passing ships in the early 1800s, and had a fabulous percussion technique. Over time however, dance was practiced less and less … but revivals would happen in pockets. There were the girls in Sydney who would dance at the Polynesian Club, and then Maeve Hitch and Karlene Christian taught us girls for the Pacific Arts Festival. When I lived in Tahiti, Tihoti and I would line up professional dance teachers to travel to Norfolk Island to teach for the Community Arts Society. So far, Heipua Lehartel, Lovina Lependu, Marietta and Atea Tefaataumarama have travelled from Tahiti and Huahine for stints of dancing. Each teacher has brought with them a different teaching method, each one unique and enriching our understanding of this artform. It was heart-warming see this master of dance, one who had learned with the greatest of all Tahitian dance teachers, giving pointers to our young girls.
We look forward to Vaea and Alain’s return sometime early next year for another round of fun, laughter, and of course, dance!
written by Pauline Reynolds all photos copyright
Sunday the 7th of November. The day started off cloudy and grey, showers and wind whipping the island. Typically for this time of year and the changing seasons, the skies had cleared by the early afterno
on, just as it had done the previous weekend. A heavenly blessing for the launch of Norfolk Island’s new outrigger canoe (in our language called wa’a).
The members of the Wa’a Club had gathered and set up gazebos, a BBQ for the snags, drinks, caps, and raffle tickets for an art prize. The wa’a was carried from where it had been kept in the grassy coverage of the middle of Emily Bay’s sand dunes to the area opposite the ancient Polynesian marae. Flowers were spread around the peripheries of the wa’a in tribute.
The ceremony began with Tihoti and John Christian, the founders of the club. John addressed the 200 strong crowd of locals and tourists in English, explaining the significance of the ceremony, the short history of the club and thanking those who have been so kind with their donations (of special note was the Norfolk Island Government and the Minister for Sports) and the builder, Jason Chubb. The club is also thankful to Slick and Joel for their generous donations for the BBQ.
Tihoti then began the Fa’ainura’a Ceremony. This ancient ceremony is conducted for every new canoe of importance in Tahiti to show respect for the ocean, the elements and to ask the gods for protection - for the wa’a and the people paddling her.
With the sounding of the conch shell and his children Oihanu and Mauatua standing sentry, he began his oratory,
O great Ocean! Welcome! O divinities of the ocean – welcome! O great sun! Welcome! O divinities of the sun – welcome! O wind of all directions! Welcome! O divinities of the winds – welcome! To the sky, the land, welcome!
Taaroa, founder of the world, of the thousand skies! Welcome to you! You are the lord of the sky and the land. You are the ancestor of all the divinities, You are the great creator. O Taaroa – welcome!
-Second sounding of the conch-
O Tane! Welcome! Tane the patron saint of all master canoe builders – divine Tane! Here is our wa’a, here is TEFAUROA! Here is our wa’a! Here is TEFAUROA! O divine Tane! Come and cast your spell on Tefauroa! Make Tefauroa auspicious! Oh Tane – welcome!
-Tihoti sprinkles water from the bamboo held by Oihanu-
O Tefauroa! Here is the ocean water, here is the water of the great ocean. Here is the water from the greatest marae of all! Tefauroa, here is the seawater to baptise and bless you, to make you propitious.
-Mauatua ‘faahei’ the wa’a by placing the flowers on the front and the back-
O Tefauroa, here is a necklace of flowers from this land! Here is the beauty that decorates this island! The beauty of this island! O Tefauroa! We crown you today with these flowers. O Tefauroa, you are our pride and joy today.
O Tefauroa! Welcome!
-Then came the Baunti Beauties (thank you Claudia, Kaitlin, Emily, Ashley, Mikiela, Tiffany) who danced so beautifully to the Norfolk Island ballads played by the Bumboras Band led by Don Reynolds.
During the ceremony, Kath King heard the call of a single red-tailed tropic bird, flying over the ceremony, watching from above. For Tahitians, this is significative of the presence of the gods, that they have heard the impassioned prayers.
Once the ceremony closed, members of the club carried the newly baptised vessel to Emily Bay and she was launched into the calm waters paddled by Tihoti, Tarn, Phil and Matt. There she stayed, paddled around and around the bay with many young and old having a go! What a wonderful day it was!
So why does a wa’a need to be blessed with this thousand year old ceremony? As Tihoti explains, the wa’a is a symbol for all Polynesian people - a symbol of transport and communication between islands, of nourishment, the link between populations, sport, voyage and migration; and then there is the metaphysical symbolism …
All Tahitians know this allegory - it is used in sport, in schools, and by politicians and by everyone in their day-to-day lives. If you have seen the Tahitian flag, you will know that it is dominated by a great voyaging wa’a (or va’a in Tahitian).
In life, there is the past, the present, and the future. You are alone on your wa’a - the future ahead and the past behind. There are three seats. When you sit at the front (in the future) the wa’a is difficult to paddle. You can hardly move forward. You change to the second seat, the present. Although it’s better, it’s still hard to manoeuvre the wa’a. So you sit at the back, looking forward from the past. From there you are better able to find your direction, the wa’a is easy to paddle and you are able to advance.
So it is in life, when we are in the present, look behind; study your history so that you might find the lessons and guidance to know how to go ahead at this moment and into the future. Today many people are in the first chair. Look to the past to understand the present and navigate through the future.
It is the club’s aim to purchase more canoes and that more Norfolk Island women and men will join, and that the junior ranks will swell. What a wonderful opportunity for our youth to learn this sport of their ancestors and perhaps one day participate in international competitions against our Pacific cousins - affirmation of our undeniable connection to other Pacific Island communities.
Good luck Tefauroa!
photos copyright Pauline Reynolds
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Article written for Norfolk on Line: www.norfolkonlinenews.com
MOORLAND CLOSE (Part One)
During my recent trip to the UK on my quest to visit museums holding barkcloths made by the Polynesian women of HMS Bounty (see earlier editions of Norfolk on Line), I found myself drawn to exploring the places some of the mutineers lived. I was surprised because I have always resonated to the untold women’s story, having lived in Polynesia for so long. What a rounding experience this was for me.
I have some good friends in England, Chris Gaskell and Bernadette Kilroy, who are confirmed Bounty buffs. We met during their cruise years ago which included stops at Tahiti and Huahine, and we’ve been in contact ever since. They were kind enough to take me to my appointment with the curator at Liverpool World Museum. The next day we went on a discovery tour of The Lake District and to the town of Cockermouth where Fletcher Christian lived in his youth. Unbeknownst to me, this would end up being the highlight of my stay in England.
We left Chris and Bernadette’s house at the crack of dawn and drove north for a couple of hours on the M6 highway toward Penrith. We skirted the south west area of The Lake District and turned onto the A66 where the landscape folds gently into rounded fluorescent green and rust coloured fells (hills) dissected by ancient stone walls.
Heading toward Keswick, I saw a small and discreet road sign ‘Castlerigg Stone Circle’. I was blown away. I’ve always been fascinated by these structures, and had hoped one day to see this particular one. I excitedly asked Chris if it was too far out of his way. He chuckled, ‘you should have told me you wanted to see it’ in his broad accent. We turned down an empty narrow road and not five minutes further along, arrived at the Circle. Given the many tours a tourist can take to the impressive Stonehenge, (which one can hardly approach, let alone touch or photograph alone), Castlerigg Stone Circle is amazingly accessible. We were the only car to pull up on the side of the quiet road, alone apart from some young campers in the next paddock strumming guitars.
For such an inconspicuously marked area, the circle is vastly impressive. Positioned on the plateau of Chestnut Hill it is cradled in an amphitheatre of surrounding fells and the highest peaks of the area of Cumbria. The circle itself is made up of 40 principal stones, probably erected around 3200 BC. Much like the marae of Polynesia, the stones are aligned to the sunrise during different times of the year and lunar positions.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge visited Castlerigg with William Wordsworth in 1799 and he wrote,
… a Druidical circle [where] the mountains stand one behind the other, in orderly array as if evoked by and attentive to the assembly of white-vested wizards …
And who are we to know exactly what took place over the years in this fabulously mystical place?
The reason I write about it here, is its proximity to Moorland Close, the birthplace and childhood home of Fletcher Christian. Breathing in the extraordinary beauty of the place, I began to think about him. He would certainly have visited this place, in all its glory long before the swinging gate and laminated explanation board were erected.
In this ancient place time seemed to stop for a moment … if this stone circle was built in 3200 BC, then the 246 years since Fletcher was born at Moorland Close are infinitesimal speck in the grand expanse of time …
The story continues making our way to Moorland Close next week …
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
A wonderful visit with Mark Nesbitt at Kew ... quoted from the Kew blog:
Economic Botany Collection
Tapa cloth and the forgotten women of the Bounty mutiny
By: Mark Nesbitt - 30/09/2010
A visitor to Kew sheds light on tapa cloth made 170 years ago by her Polynesian forebears.
One of the most colourful elements of Kew’s Economic Botany Collection is the tapa cloth. We care for at least 60 pieces from across the Pacific, made by pounding inner bark from the paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) and other trees.
Tapa cloth in Kew's Economic Botany Collection
These plain, off-white fragments from Pitcairn Island appear subdued by comparison. However, I’ve long been aware of their historical link to the Bounty mutiny, one of the best-known and most controversial episodes in British history. In 1789 Captain William Bligh left Tahiti with more than 1000 breadfruit plants, bound for the Caribbean as a new food source for the slave plantations. Three weeks later Fletcher Christian, George Stewart, Peter Heywood and other crew mutinied, setting Bligh and eighteen men adrift in the ship's launch. Today many descendants of the mutineers live on Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island.
Many of the mutineers had Tahitian partners, often the daughters of Tahitian Chiefs. The Polynesian heritage of the Bounty descendants can be traced directly to these women, but has been little explored. Pauline Reynolds, a descendant of Fletcher Christian and resident of Norfolk Island, is tracing the material culture of the Bounty women in European museums on a Churchill Fellowship. She kindly spent a day at Kew sharing her insights into the collections. Pauline’s visit shows how reconnecting with source communities can deepen understanding of the human stories behind our specimens.
Pauline Reynolds is researching tapa cloth in Kew's Economic Botany Collection
The largest piece, seen in the middle of the table, was of special significance to Pauline as it was made by Mauatua (wife of Christian Fletcher) her 5x great grandmother. She pointed out its extraordinarily thin and even texture, typical of the finest tapa cloth from very experienced makers. The piece seen on the left of the table was made by Peggy, daughter of George Stewart and is a little thicker; that on the right was made by Mauatua, and Teraura, wife of Ned Young. Pauline explained that the very plainness of these pieces is an indication of their quality: decoration would take away from appreciation of the work.
One odd feature of the tapa is that it has been cut into small pieces. In Polynesian cultures it would be very unusual to cut a large sheet into small pieces. Pauline immediately recognised that the donor’s name might be a clue. The tapa cloths were given to Kew in 1858 by Frances Heywood, who turns out to be the widow of Peter Heywood, a mutineer who was pardoned and went on to have a successful naval career.
“The women also manufacture tappa or native cloth, from the bark of the "Anti" or paper-mulberry, which is rolled up, and soaked in water, and then beaten out with wooden mallets, and spread forth to dry. The author has in his possession a piece of beautifully wrought white tappa, given him by Mrs. Heywood… it was made by the wife of Fletcher Christian [Mauatua], from the bark of the paper-mulberry-tree. The piece from which this portion was taken, was entrusted by her, when at a very advanced age, to Captain Jenkin Jones, when he visited the island, in her Majesty's ship Curacoa, in 1841; he having been desired to give it to Peter’s wife.”
I find it extraordinary - and moving - that the bonds of friendship between Mauatua and Frances Heywood, connected only by their love of two Bounty mutineers, should hold so strong over 50 years and 9000 miles.
Three years before her death in 1861, Frances Heywood evidently cut up and distributed pieces of the tapa cloths among her friends – and Kew. Perhaps more pieces are to be found elsewhere?
- Mark -
Monday, November 1, 2010
THINKING ABOUT THE PACIFIC IN THE UK
For a woman who has spent all of her life in the Pacific, it has been a
revelation to travel to the UK … I'm glad for the itinerary that led me
gently out of the Pacific from Norfolk Island via New Zealand and
Hawai'i before flying into Los Angeles and Heathrow.
I am presently in the UK studying the material culture left by our
Polynesian foremothers who boarded the HMS Bounty in 1789 bound
for Pitcairn. These women gifted many barkcloths to passing captains
that eventually made their way into European museums. Now I find
myself making my way to them – something like joining the dots on a
vast museum map working my way from London to Scotland and
across to Norway.
I‟m surprised and frankly disappointed at the lack of Pacific
representation in British museum displays in general. In that light, it is
a sweet thing indeed to have seen two particular barkcloths on display
in public galleries: one in the British Museum (in the Enlightenment
Gallery - a tiny piece by Mauatua, Fletcher Christian's sweetheart)
and the other at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (a lovely patterned
poncho). I‟ve received a resoundingly kind and enthusiastic reception
at each of the museums I‟ve visited by the hard-working curators of
huge out-of-sight collections.
Behind archive doors there have been more, so many more, pieces of
beautiful barkcloth to study. Some white and finely made - others a
patchwork of colours.
It's important to highlight the significance of the barkcloths (and
Pacific culture in general) within the institutions I'm visiting.
Recently I spent a day with Dr Mark Nesbitt at Kew Gardens who has
since written a blog post about the day we spent talking about the
pieces in their collections. Dr Nesbitt generously shared his time
looking through museum notes and archives and we were able to
piece together the history of the barkcloths and how they came to
Kew. It was great fun and a valuable exercise.
Holding these pieces of cloth has been a deeply moving experience
for me. As a people we are in a unique position, because often times
we can name the maker of many of these pieces. What this means is
that those of us of Bounty descent can trace our heritage back to a
particular piece and say, "my great great great great great grandmother
made this‟. With this knowledge comes the responsibility of
protecting the pieces and assuring museums do too.
Over the years I have been pleased to communicate with the curators,
and now meeting them face-to-face perhaps opens a window of
understanding for them too, which is more than I might have hoped
for. They understand the importance of representing material culture
in a way that guards its historical integrity, and working together, we
can come to an understanding of these valuable pieces that are an
important part of our Bounty history.
Pauline recently received a
scholarship to travel to NZ,
Hawai’i, the UK and Norway
to study the material culture
left by the Bounty women
who settled on Pitcairn Island
in 1790. Pauline lived for 15 years
on Huahine, Tahiti, and presently
lives on Norfolk Island with her
Tahitian husband, Tihoti, and their
children Oihanu and Mauatua.
LAST STOP: NORWAY
By the time this article is published, my 6 week Round-the-World scholarship will have come to an end … I’ll be home and wondering, ‘did it all happen to me?’.
Firstly, I wish to encourage anyone who has a worthwhile project of benefit to our island and/or our culture, to apply for a Churchill Fellowship. What a wonderful opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and on return give back to the community.
Sir Winston Churchill is famously quoted as saying, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” His life is awe inspiring, and what better way to assure his memory lives on than these Memorial Fellowships?
The fellowship has allowed me to see around 40 pieces of Pitcairn barkcloth and some of the beaters that were used to make them. This data will provide valuable information about the makers - the Bounty women and their daughters.
Whilst the studying of barkcloth in itself is fascinating, the stories related to each piece make the Pitcairn barkcloths even more interesting. The curators have been equally eager to know more about them, so it really has been a two way street.
It has been a moving experience touching these pieces, knowing they were made by my foremothers (and the foremothers of many of you reading this article now). Whilst they were creating this fibre to clothe themselves and their children, they were also creating the fabric of the new society on Pitcairn. They truly were pioneering women, and deserve much more than the historical fiction that has been written about them to date and that I am sure will continue to be written. It is my mission to find as much historical factual data as possible about them - it just requires digging and an open mind. The mythic, sometimes sensational, movie drama story has seen its day: our history is fascinating, but only half told as far as I am concerned.
At the time of writing I am in Norway waiting for my appointment with the Kon-Tiki Museum’s curator whom I met during an archaeological dig near our house on Huahine, Tahiti many years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing the lovely finely made barkcloth and beaters they have in their collection. By looking at the fabric itself, and the collection data, I might be able to determine the maker of the piece and the tree it was made from. The beaters are also extremely interesting – in the Norfolk Island Museum there is a beater that has always been associated with the Melanesian Mission, however, I believe it came from Pitcairn to Norfolk on the Morayshire in 1856, and so I’ll be doing some comparisons.
Some museums have asked me to contribute thoughts and some writing for future exhibitions including Pitcairn tapa-cloths. I hope now that our material heritage might continue to be featured, even if in small ways, in exhibitions around the world. I broached the idea of the possible loan of some of these items to our own museum on Norfolk and have received some positive responses.
There is another guideline highlighted by the Churchill Trust - and that is to make the most of one’s travel, to watch local news and really breathe in the local culture. With my appointments attended, I’ve tried to pack in quick visits to meaningful areas and cities surrounding the museums.
The most memorable visit was after my appointment at the Liverpool World Museum. I had met up with friends who took me to Moorland Close (Fletcher Christian’s birthplace and childhood home), Cockermouth (the nearby village) and St Bridget’s Church (where the Christian family is buried and where they sought solace during their lives). This area forms part of The Lake District and a place I feel we all need to visit! I felt a real resonance with this beautiful area, which is much like the Gloucester district of NSW Australia.
So the Fellowship has taken me to the following cities: Wellington in New Zealand; Honolulu in Hawai’i; London, Kew, Cambridge, Oxford and Liverpool in England; Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland; and finally Oslo in Norway. This has been one of the most empowering, lonely, inspiring and enriching experiences of my life and I know that this will benefit our culture and people.
I’d like to give thanks to the Churchill Trust, those who had a hand in my selection, to Lisa Richards and Rhonda Griffiths, to those of you who have sent me messages of encouragement, my wonderful family who let me go, and all the museum curators and friends met along the way. It’s been an amazing trip and I look forward to putting pen to paper to continue writing about the forgotten women of the Bounty.
|Pauline in the archives at the Royal Scottish Museum|
|Moorland Close Homestead|