EMILY NORMAN

When Carterton artist Karen Taylor crafted a clay figure in her home studio, she knew immediately it was special.

And it was only until hearing about a pottery category focusing on the tales of Maui that she clicked who the figure represented.

She went on to win the ‘He Korero Waihanga Uku Award’ with her finished work which depicted Maui, “the day before he fished up the North Island”.

“I had a figure that I had made already.

“I sort of knew it was special and I didn’t know what to do with it, but I knew it was important.

“When I found out about the competition, I knew it was Maui.”

Taylor said when she heard or read stories she often wondered what it would have been like to stand in the shoes of the people involved, and so for the korero to go with her work, she submitted the following.

“I am tagging along, lagging and flagging along, behind my eldest brother.

“He does not look at me, but strides ahead through the shallows.

“His basket filled with the five best fish is clenched in his fist, his flax lines slung crisscross all around him.

“He has left my other brothers to tidy up the rest of the catch, and to drag the canoe high above the line of the tide, safe from the greedy sea god Tangaroa. I do not stay to help.

“My older brothers will not let me go fishing with them, no matter how much I do for them.

“They say I am too young, that there is no room…they do not want my company.

“I am sad, but fish come to comfort me and tickle my feet. These fish are bigger than any my brothers have caught, and I feel a strange certainty that I would be a very good fisherman.

“At that moment a breeze blows across my shoulder and I hear Grandmother Muri-ranga-whenua whisper in my ear, ‘You have my jawbone gift. You have faith and you have flax. Use them, my boy, use them,’ she says.

“And I know it is time. Tonight, I will weave words with my ancestors, for tomorrow, I must fish…”

Taylor has called Carterton home for two and a half years now, and is formerly from Wellington.

She said art had always been a part of her life, but after a health scare, it had become her life.

“I’m not into pretty pictures.

“I believe when you look at art it should make you feel something or think something.”

Taylor’s art was displayed at the Academy Gallery, Queen’s Wharf as part of the Ceramicus exhibition organised by Wellington Potters’ Association in conjunction with the Watercolour New Zealand.