Rupua No.5 | Bronte Perry
Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them
with broken heart and bitter grief.
Rupua No.5 is a 10-acre plot of land in the small town of Te Waimate. It is one of the many plots that amassed the 1035 acres bought by the Church Mission Society (CMS) in 1830 for the formation of the first inland mission house in Aotearoa. The total sum of ten pounds, one iron pot, one adze, 10 hoes, and 2 Lbs. of tobacco was given in exchange. Over the course of the next several years CMS would purchase swathes of land across Tai Tokerau, cheaply and quickly in order to form the physical grounding for their civilising project.
On the hill at Te Waimate flew a large white muslin flag with the words “Rongo Pai” painted in black across it. The large wooden house brought nothing but grief. Carrying Rongo Pai in their hands, turmoil and mamae tore across Te Tai Tokerau as the missionaries masqueraded its ‘gospel of civilisation’ from village to village. Preaching offers of a good heart, whispering sweet promises of salvation, the faith embedded generational wounds among the tangata whenua of Tai Tokerau.
Religion and empire collide and convolute, binding itself to the settler state. It forcibly assimilates subjects into the colonial body—a good body, a moral body, a silent body. Thus contemporary subjects who carry this mamae, raw and unhealed, still feel it resting heavy in our bellies. In unravelling the threads of trauma we may openly embody this mamae as a form of liberation and as an act towards healing.
Bronte Perry is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Born ‘n’ bred in South Auckland, Perry is interested in utilising the ideas of whakapapa, whanaungatanga and lived experiences to explore socio-political contexts through immersive installation and sculpture. They graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours, from the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 2017. Recent exhibitions include: The river remains, ake tonu atu, New Artist Show, Artspace Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau (2018), and my heart is soft, with Ange Perry, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Te Whanganui-a-Tara (2018), In The Shadow Of Te Whare Karakia O Mikaera, Elam Graduate Show, University of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau (2017) and But They Love Us, Window Gallery, University Of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau (2017).
 Translation: the good news