Un-settle by Helen Moore

SCANZ2015: Water*Peace

About the Project

Ko au ko koe, ko koe ko au

The relationship between land and waterways became vividly evident during the recent Canterbury earthquakes, and connects with local histories of land settlement that include non Maori efforts to build on swampy areas, changing the ‘natural’ state and resulting in what has been described as almost total elimination of wetlands and the almost complete displacement of native vegetation. Water-laden sands and silts were impacted by the recent earthquake shaking in a process known as liquefaction. The resulting liquid sludge affected the stability of the built environment including underground water and sewerage pipes, particularly near waterways.

I describe a ‘project’ that began as an intuitive response to living in a situation of flux, where the familiar became unknown territory during Ruamoko’s activity. Walking place around the CBD ‘red zone’ of public exclusion, became an embodied practice to engage with shifting realities and to investigate reconnection to the local in these changing circumstances. Spaces opened up, both literally and metaphorically, provoking inquiry about time, place and belonging. An awareness of deeper knowings surfaced, acknowledging tangata whenua histories, ancestral threads of memory, and considering ways of inhabiting and being in the natural world.

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