2008 Episode 4: Terry Stringer/Taonga Puoro: The Silence Is Over | TV ONE SHOWS A-Z | TV ONE | tvnz.co.nz [an error occurred while processing this directive]
2008 Episode 4: Terry Stringer/Taonga Puoro: The Silence Is Over
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Terry Stringer - sculptor

"There needs to be an element of risk in making the sculpture. Pushing to make something a little bit bigger or a little bit different and making a risk that it will go wrong is going to give the work a little bit more tension and vitality, so I suppose experience has taught me that you can't play it safe. It's not a lifetime that's given me the answers, it's a lifetime that's given me the questions."

The figure works of Terry Stringer have claimed a place for him as pre-eminent amongst New Zealand artists. His beautifully realised bronzes adorn many public spaces and private collections throughout the country.

"My pieces represent a figure or a face in the way that a tribal artist might use the art of the tribe to make a statement and put their individual take on it. I'm a way of putting together a face, and it's based on our Western art tradition, plus influences from living here in New Zealand. And I'm using these generic faces and figures in formal ways with formal ideas, which I think is making them into works of art."

Terry operates from Zealandia, a unique house, studio and sculpture garden in a beautiful rural landscape at Mahurangi, north of Auckland.

Zealandia is open to the public throughout the summer, a continuing one man show of large sculptures set on rolling lawns against a background stand of mature kauris.

The work of a sculptor is arduous, and there are often months of waiting before a figure made in clay can be poured in bronze in the Auckland art foundries and returned to Zealandia to be finished to Terry's exacting standards.

This documentary (from the irregular "Profiles" series on mid-career artists and directed by Bruce Morrison) introduces Terry and his sculpture, and gives unique insights into his techniques. Following a new commissioned work for an Auckland collector, it also compresses the months of effort and many technical processes he follows from clay to finished bronze into a fascinating stream of images which illuminate the man and his work.

For Terry Stringer, past achievements are just that - past. It is always the next work, the new work that is going to be the key, the perfect statement of his ever-developing sculptural language.

The Silence is Over  

This documentary about Taonga Puoro, treasured Maori instruments and their place in modern music.  Traditionally the instruments were played not for entertainment, but were played more for the spiritual world of music in birth, life, and death.  The argument here is whether they have, in modern times, transcended to being used as entertainment in western orchestral music and pop or rock.

The documentary is presented through two avenues.  One tells the story of Horomona Horo, a young man with three mentors: Richard Nunns, Brian Flintoff and the late Hirini Melbourne.  These three men made a committed trio dedicated to the revival of Taonga Puoro, and Horomono Horo is their young student, wanting to maintain the tradition and continue the revival.  

Their message is these instruments need to be played, not left gathering dust on museum shelves, and to this end they play them to people and spirits atop beautiful landscapes.

Then we move to the Michael Fowler Centre, after the NZSO walk out 6 musician/composers debate what place in the future these traditional Maori instruments will have in western orchestral music and bands.  Included are well known composer/musicians Gareth Farr, Gillian Whitehead, Aroha-Yates Smith, Moana Maniapoto, Jeff Henderson and Richard Nunns himself. 

The Taongo Puoro's future is vigorously debated in a vacated orchestral stage over a table on which contains examples of these traditional Maori instruments, with questions like;
Will we see a section in the orchestra where Toanga Puoro instruments will be played?
How can this be when each has a different tone and a different personality and tradition? 
How would this work in orchestral composition?

There are taboos about where these instruments should be played, does this get in the way of usage in modern bands and modern venues?

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