Ihi, by Lisa Reihana

Ihi, by Lisa Reihana

This large-scale digital work by renowned New Zealand artist is on display at Aotea – Te Pokapū | Aotea Centre in Auckland. 

Ihi, by Lisa Reihana, immerses viewers in a visual spectacle, telling the traditional Māori story of the origins of our world.

Ihi fills two floor-to-ceiling spaces in the Aotea Centre foyer, enthralling viewers with the story of Ranginui and Papatūānuku playing out on 65 square metre digital screens. This makes it one of the largest and most significant works of contemporary Māori art in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

Lisa’s previous works, which include Digital Marae 2001 and the iconic in Pursuit of Venus [infected], are internationally renowned and have had a significant impact on the arts and cultural reputation of Tāmaki Makaurau and New Zealand. Ihi is set to become one of the country’s most iconic works of art by a Māori artist.

About the artwork

Ihi explores the relationship between Tāne and Papatūānuku, and the separation that brought the world of Te Ao Mārama to existence.  

In the beginning, Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother) were locked in a tight embrace. Their sons and daughters dwelt in the darkness between them. Frustrated by the claustrophobic space in which he was confined, Tāne decides to use his powerful legs to prise Ranginui from Papatūānuku, letting light between his parents and life to flourish. After wrenching his parents apart, Tāne surveys the view he has created - a cosmos of stars and moody brooding skies.

Tane continues his quest and climbs to retrieve the baskets of knowledge. Below is Papatūānuku, resplendent in her role as Earth Mother. 

Ihi is the division, the separation, the power.  Here, light and energy converge under tension and we can feel the push and pull of life’s force.

About the dancers

Taane Mete is a Māori artist of Ngati Kahungunu me Ngati Koriki – Kahukura descent.

Taane is one of New Zealand’s most revered dancers and choreographers. First introduced to dance as a child through Kapa Haka, he has been dancing and performing for 37 years. At the age of 15, Dupree Jazz initiated his pathway to formal training at The New Zealand School of Dance, where he graduated with Honors majoring in Contemporary Dance.          

Formerly a founding member of Okareka Dance Company, Taane continues his journey as a solo artist through his new company: TAANE METE.  His artistic palette is influenced by Māori culture and the rich tapestry of Aotearoa, allowing Taane to weave together profound work steeped in indigenous tradition (see www.taanemete.com).


Nancy Wijohn is a Māori artist of Te Rarawa, Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Whaoa and Ngati Tahu descent.

Nancy’s contemporary dance career spans 15 years as a performance/movement artist, choreographer, teacher and physical therapist. Nancy has worked with some of NZ's most prolific companies and artists. She was a core member of the Atamira Dance Company from 2008 – 2017, dancing in shows around the world and choreographing three works for the company. For the Okareka dance company, Nancy performed in the company’s most successful show, Mana Wahine.

Nancy worked with the late Douglas Wright in his 2011 debut of ‘Rapt’ at the Auckland Festival, which also toured Holland. 

She has collaborated with many artists in Aotearoa and around the world. As an independent artist, Nancy collaborates and co-directs with fellow dance colleague and partner Kelly Nash.  Their physical therapy company, Nancy + Kelly Contact Care LTD, allows them to share their passion for helping people resolve physical injuries and regain their health.


Artist: Lisa Reihana

Date of work: 2020

Medium: Digital

Ihi, by Lisa Reihana

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