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A New Zealand story

A spin on the iconic kiwiana toy, Buzzy Bee, is one of two pieces by Gisborne artist Conor Jeory that have been accepted for the annual Molly Morpeth Canaday Award.

The three-dimensional art form is the focus of this year's award and provides a professional platform for artists who work in sculpture, installation and contemporary craft.

Jeory's Toy is essentially a waka on wheels with a towing cord. The unpainted piece is made up of a simplified single-hull that rests on a block of wood which moves on cylindrical wooden wheels.

Taiaha Triptych: 1770 Turanganui-a-Kiwa, Poverty Bay is made up of three taiaha.

In one of them, the traditional flat blade end is replaced with a stylised rifle stock while another has a rifle muzzle with feathers to evoke the smoke and sparks that were described as exploding from the magic staffs.

These taiaha are “magic staffs” spitting sparks, flames with whaitiri (thunderous) smoke — wielded by the newly arrived atua (supernatural beings).

“Within the afternoon, Te Maro was shot dead as he and three other warriors wielding taiaha made the first local entreaties,” writes Jeory about the first recorded on-land contact between Maori and Europeans.

There is no mention of the warriors' “entreaties” in the Endeavour crew members 1769 journal entries about the four men who brandished taiaha as they approached the “boys” left in charge of a small boat after Cook and his men headed up Waikanae Creek.

“‘Entreaties' is my sympathetic take on the moments, I guess,” says Jeory.

“The ‘moments' being dramatically one-sided.”

The Whakatane-based Molly Morpeth Canaday Award began in 1986 as the Shell Art Award.

In 1991, the Molly Morpeth Canaday Fund became the principal sponsor and the award became known as the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award for painting and drawing. The 3D award was introduced in 1997.

AWARD ENTRIES: Gisborne artist Conor Jeory's works Toy (above) and Taiaha Triptych: 1770 Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay (see the following picture in this gallery), have been accepted into the annual Molly Morpeth Canaday Award. Pictures supplied
Taiaha Triptych: 1770 Turanganui-a-Kiwa/Poverty Bay.