Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua New work on Banaba by Brett Graham

5 July – 15 August 2003

Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua brought together the artistic direction and work of Brett Graham and the research of Dr. Katerina Teaiwa. A major multimedia installation, the exhibition centred on the history of Banaba, a small island in the Republic of Kiribati, and explored the issue of phosphate mining undertaken by the Australian and New Zealand governments from 1900 to 1979.

For developing farming industries within New Zealand and Australia, phosphate fertiliser was highly sought after as a commodity, and over 20 million tonnes of phosphate was shipped from Banaba, destroying 1,080 acres of the 1,500 acre island. As a consequence of the mining, the indigenous people of the island, the Banabans, were removed to Rabi Island in Fiji in 1945.

Kainga Tahi Kainga Rua revealed the history of Banaba and its people and raised questions about the role New Zealand played in the fate of the island and the country’s place in the Pacific.