A series of Pacific portraits by photographer Crystal Te Moananui-Squares to go on display at the British Library in response to their major exhibition James Cook: The Voyages

Tūhuratanga: Voyage of Discovery (c) Crystal Te Moananui-Squares, 2018

A series of contemporary Pacific portraits opens at the British Library tomorrow as a creative response to its major exhibition James Cook: The Voyages.

Created by New Zealand Māori photographer Crystal Te Moananui-Squares (Ngāti Hako tribe) in collaboration with New Zealand Māori producer Jo Walsh (Ngāpuhi tribe), Tūhuratanga: Voyage of Discovery is a response to the historical context and interpretation of images, objects and text currently on display in James Cook: The Voyages at the British Library.

The free display of twenty portraits documents people of Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) living in the United Kingdom today.  Embodying their ancestors with whom James Cook and his crews first made contact with on the shores of islands in the Pacific, Tūhuratanga: Voyage of Discovery is a celebration of the diverse and respective cultures of Aotearoa New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Fiji, Tokelau, Tahiti, Marquesas and Hawai’i. 

New Zealand Māori photographer Crystal Te Moananui-Squares said:

‘I have relished the opportunity to photograph the community of Te-Moananui-a-Kiwa, as this fits in with my own kaupapa (practice) to photograph and celebrate the uniqueness, success and contribution of people from my own Pacific heritage, to create a positive narrative for the generations of Tāngata Moana (People of the Pacific) in the present and for the future.’

New Zealand Māori producer Jo Walsh said:

‘This project has given me the opportunity to spend time connecting with many Pacific families, weaving stories together and strengthening ties between their communities and each other.  They are a legacy of James Cook’s first contact, affected by empire and colonisation.  Today they continue to build connection through the reawakening of shared cultural histories and identity.’

The free display Tūhurutanga: Voyage of Discovery will be located on the British Library’s Second Floor Gallery from 6 July to 23 September 2018.

William Frame, co-curator of James Cook: The Voyages at the British Library, said:

‘The British Library holds many iconic artworks, charts and handwritten journals from James Cook’s voyages and we are delighted to be able to host Crystal Te Moananui-Squares’s series of contemporary portraits, which have been created in response to the exhibition.’

James Cook: The Voyages (open until 28 August 2018) charts Cook’s three voyages, from the Endeavour setting sail from Plymouth in 1768 to the Resolution and Discovery returning to Britain in 1780 after Cook’s death in Hawaii. It explores different perspectives on the voyages, from those on board the ships to those who saw them arrive on their shores, and considers their legacy and relevance today. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a website and events programme, including music performances, discussions and drawing masterclasses, which further explore the different perspectives and competing narratives surrounding the voyages.

James Cook: The Voyages is supported by PONANT Yacht Cruises & Expeditions and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Notes to Editors

Crystal Te Moananui-Squares is of Ngati Hako descent a tribe from the Hauraki region in New Zealand. She is a primarily self-taught Photographer who lives in London with her husband and two daughters.  She has relished the opportunity to photograph the community of Te Moananui a Kiwa as this fits in with her own kaupapa (practice) to photograph and celebrate the uniqueness, success and contribution of people from her own pacific heritage, no matter how small. In a very tiny way using her camera to help create a positive narrative for the generations of Tangata Moana in the present and for the future. 

PONANT is the world leader in luxury expeditions and the only French-owned cruise line. Over the last 30 years, PONANT has taken passengers to remote locations where others do not go, following in the footsteps of the great explorers, accompanied by experienced naturalist guides. Today, PONANT leads the way in innovative sea exploration and luxury expedition cruises with the launch of the world’s first ever multisensory underwater lounge, the Blue Eye, which will be featured onboard the new small luxury expedition vessels, the PONANT EXPLORERS. Through partners such as the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO), dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in these regions, PONANT is committed to being a leader in environmental protection. All ships are ‘CLEANSHIP’ certified and ensuring environmental regulatory compliance in all operations as well as anticipating new regulations. www.ponant.com

The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) exists to advance the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Antarctic heritage and to engage, inform and inspire a global audience.  The UKAHT is a UK based charity dedicated to promoting Antarctic heritage and this is achieved through the care and conservation of historic buildings and artefacts and delivering and supporting a range of innovative programmes.  All sale proceeds from the shop enable the UKAHT to continue its conservation and awareness programmes. Find out more: www.ukaht.org


For more information:

Alice Carter
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7126
e: alice.carter@bl.uk

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

Press Office contacts

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.