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Malcolm Pullman

Tears of Mokau - unframed

Tears of Mokau - unframed

Regular price $780.00 NZD
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This photo was shot on Friday November 8, 2013 when I was attending a serious fire at the marae of the hapū Te Uri o Hikihiki at Mokau in my capacity as a photographer for the Setford News Photo Agency.

Around this time a Russian Oligarch was building a multi-million dollar retreat at nearby
Helena Bay. While the project brought many jobs to the district it also created division. Who benefitted from the Russian largesse and who missed out, there were questions about access to the coast and other issues particular to tangata whenua.

A few years before I had been sent to this district to photograph sub standard housing for the government’s Department of Social Welfare, so was aware of some underlying social tensions.

That Friday afternoon documenting the progress as fire fighters brought the blaze under
control and then watching locals mourn their marae as the firemen completed damping down all hot spots was deeply emotional. I was about to pack up and race off to process and file news images when some firemen moved to the side of the building and began pumping foam up the roof at the same angle as the lintel that supported the carvings of figures who had looked over this valley and its people for generations. The historical, social and spiritual context was immense.

The foam did its job extinguishing dying embers then cascading down as tears pouring from the ancestral faces.

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