WATER SLOWS AS IT ROUNDS THE BEND | Kate van der Drift
Water Slows as it Rounds the Bend is part of an ongoing investigation into the fragile ecology and transformation of the Hauraki Plains. The groundwater of the present day Plains is tightly controlled; few clues remain of the great fertile wetland, yet concealed in the centre of the gridded farmland lays Kopuatai Peat Dome, the largest unaltered restiad peat bog in New Zealand and unique globally. Acting as a sponge, the Peat Dome protects low-lying farmland from flooding, but in recent years it hasn’t soaked up the excess rain.
The relationship between land and water is ever changing. Significant subsidence is occurring throughout the plains, especially in the peat land. By traversing the wetland by foot and kayak, van der Drift pictures areas once full of giant Kahikatea trees that have been crowded out by Willow.
van der Drift would like to acknowledge the tangata whenua of Hauraki especially Ngāti Hako, whose land this work is set in and whose stories are referenced. As well as tau iwi - the farmers, hunters and environmentalists whose relationships to the land are referred to and pictured.
An interest in changing land and waterscapes motivates Kate van der Drift’s current practice. Drawing attention to shifting coastlines and vanishing locations. Her photographic works are stunning documents of a land in flux: “van der Drift’s photographs create a powerful nostalgia, evoking the past within the present, but also cautioning the viewer of a potential future.” – Maria Walls, 2017
Based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Kate has exhibited nationally and internationally and was recently awarded Stoneleigh New Zealand Artist Grant at the 2018 Melbourne Art Fair. Water Slows as it Rounds the Bend was exhibited during the 2018 Festival of Photography at Sanderson Contemporary.