The photographs in the series Homewardbounder show the entrances to ‘adits’, or horizontal mineshafts, left in the West Coast landscape after exploration by gold miners during the 1860s gold rush. These dark, damp spaces convey a history of aspiration and struggle, as the men that sought to make their fortune there faced harsh realities: an unforgiving landscape, difficult working conditions and a hand to mouth existence.
Made up to 150 years ago, these adits serve as reminders of our pioneering history and the extraordinary decisions that ultimately shaped our country. And yet this is only one version of the story, as there are histories often untold: women on the goldfields and waiting at home, and problematic European attitudes toward ownership and domination over the land at odds with the views of local Māori.
Homewardbounder considers the legacy of mining on the West Coast – a complex legacy that continues to impact the West Coast today, as the instability of the mining industry now poses a threat to the communities it once established.
Published in association with Bridget Reweti’s exhibition 'I thought I would of climbed more mountains by now', April 1- April 25, 2015.Read Online