Te Wai Ngunguru - Nomads of the Sea

Lisa Reihana

Biennale of Sydney

Biennale of Sydney
Sydney, Australia

"'Nomads of the Sea' provides a way for me to see myself, by posing the question ‘who was the first child of mixed blood born in Aotearoa, New Zealand?’ Nomads looks outward, connecting the colonial settler narratives of Australia with my Ngā Puhi heritage in Aotearoa / New Zealand. I look backwards through time to when gender and power were considered differently to now, dispelling myths of hapless women to those who choose their destinies. From here, I begin to understand the place we find ourselves today, and hope that unearthing these stories provides inspiration to others, as it has for me."

In this striking time-based installation work Lisa Reihana reimagines the late 18th century nomadic life of the female convict Charlotte Badger, a pakeha (European) woman of British descent who is co-opted by a Maori chief. The collision of identities and customs, both real and imaginary, injects into this powerful immersive multi-media work a complex and poetic social choreography through which colonial power plays are revealed and beliefs are challenged.


  • Title: Te Wai Ngunguru - Nomads of the Sea
  • Creator: Lisa Reihana
  • Date Created: 2019
  • Location Created: Cockatoo Island
  • Physical Dimensions: dimensions variable, duration; 20:00 mins
  • Provenance: Originally co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Creative New Zealand, Nga Aho Whakaari, Te Taura Whiri Maori Language Commission and Jan Warburton Charitable Trust. Co-produced by Artprojects and Reihanamations Ltd. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Creative New Zealand and Penelope Seidler AM. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney.
  • Type: installation
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: 3-channel 3D video, colour, sound, steel
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

Additional Items

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps