Peterborough, Ontario, Canada - North Island, New Zealand. 2016 - present.
April 14 2017.
My father standing infront of his girlfriend's home in Peterborough, Ontario. Inside, his girlfriend and her two children reside.
My father lived here for 5 years after losing his job and while dealing with his declining health. During this time, my father and I spoke occasionally and visited rarely. However, through the gradual increase of visits and photographs, we began to reconnect.
April 26 2017 / December 2 2016.
A contrasting image of the different landscapes my father is now accustomed to between New Zealand and Canada. One of the things he misses most is the landscapes of New Zealand; the mountains, hills, winding roads and oceans. At the top, Mt Ruapehu is viewed from the Rangipo Desert on the side of State Highway 1, also known as Desert Road, New Zealand. This is one of the natural landmarks my father wanted me to see while visiting New Zealand. At the bottom is a common view for myself from a gas station on the side of Highway 115, Ontario, Canada. I pass this view every time I visit my father in Peterborough, Ontario.
April 25, 2017
My Uncle Murray candidly leaning on our family’s Marae while conversing with my cousins and sister.
A Marae is the “meeting grounds” for the community. These centres host various celebrations and follow traditional practice. Located 3km east of Te Puke, New Zealand, on State Highway 2, the Moko Marae was home for our family. This visit was a first for the entire family, as my Uncle has raised his kids with his wife’s Maori side, and only attended her Marae.
May 9 2017
A surfer leaves Murawai Beach at sunset, where my cousin and I sat watching the waves roll in Auckland, New Zealand.
May 6 2018.
My cousin Vincent (Vinny) climbing out of the secluded pool of Kitekite Falls near Piha Beach, New Zealand. With us were various members of our family. To get to this part of the falls, we hiked freely through brush and rocks. Vincent reminds the family of my father at his age in his appearance and character.
May 4 2017 / November 18 2016.
Water has always been spiritual and connective for my siblings and I, as well as for my father. At the top of the North Island of New Zealand, the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean meet and crash and repeat. This meeting place is called Cape Reinga. In Maori beliefs, this is where the dead depart for their journey after death. Located at 100 km north of Kaitaia, Cape Reigna remains to be a busy tourist location.
Months prior to my trip to New Zealand, I visited my father after his emergency surgery to put a pacemaker in. We shared sushi at a local restaurant in Peterborough, Canada with his girlfrend and my brother. My fathers eyes are incredibly blue, and have always reminded me of oceanatic colours.
April 25 2017.
My two younger cousins, Brothers’ Jackson and Travis, sit in their family's living room, surrounded by family portraits on the walls. I spent many visits with little Jackson, who is the youngest sibling, and travelled the North island with Travis.
April 25 2017.
My family loves going to "Op-Shops", as they call them. My cousin Travis and my Uncle Murray modelled their recent purchases outside of just one of the many shops, making me laugh time and time again.
April 27 2017.
My Great Uncle's tobacco tin, inside his home in Martin, New Zealand.
June 13 2017 / May 7 2017.
Before I left for New Zealand, my father's anxiety increased significantly and he provided me with a pile of hand-written notes outlining aspects of his life in New Zealand, the family, the land, etc. On this specific page, my father breaks down the family tree alongside causes of death. Paired with these notes is a portrait of my Uncle Graham - my father's brother who has significant distance from the family. When meeting and interacting with some of my father's brothers (my uncles), I noticed various similarities both in physical appearance and character between them and my father. I took this portrait in the short 20 minute visit we shared.
May 7 2017.
In Auckland, New Zealand, my Great Uncle Ken sat on the porch of my second cousin’s home, about to light a cigarette. Only a short while after my visit, he passed away on November 29 2017. As one of the few siblings of my Nana that was alive, I feel privileged to have met him during my short time there and gain a sense of her in person.
Out of frame, my Uncle Murray and cousin Lynn sit talking about my father and sharing stories about times they had spent with him. My Great Uncle Ken sat for a portrait as he asked me about school.
April 27 2017
A framed photo of my Nana sits in her brother’s home amongst knickknacks in Martin, New Zealand.
Having never met my Nana in person, I only ever knew the stories of her from my father, and the short, poorly-connected skype chats we attempted to have in my elementary years. After her death, the family began to disconnect from each other. Fortunately, while visiting New Zealand, I was able to meet all of my Nana’s brothers who remained alive.
December 24 2017.
My father sitting next to me in his shed in Peterborough, Canada talking about the past few weeks and months in which he has struggled with his mental health and day-to-day life. My younger brother sat across from us listening.
October 3 2017.
On one of my visits after New Zealand, I visited my father and stayed overnight for the first time in years. I felt lucky to witness the morning light that filled my father's kitchen, followed by a classic dad breakfast. My father was a chef for years and always comforts my visits with food.
January 16 2016 / May 10 2017.
My sister visited Canada in 2015 and gave my brother this greenstone pendant which was intended for and represented the "man of the house". My brother proudly wore and continues to wear this piece, depsite the bruises it leaves from it's weight. I photographed my brother wearing this piece inside my dorm room on a weekend visit from him in my first year of college.
On one of my final days in New Zealand, my sister took me to the beach, despite the rainy and heavy fog. The luscious environment that my father had always described felt more vibrant than ever that day.
July 27 2018.
My brother Ben, held our newest baby brother in a field behind my father's home amongst golden light and warmth. This was our second visit with our new sibling.
October 3 2017.
My father stood infront of he and his girlfriend's home that was once her father's, in Peterborough, Canada. I asked him to stand in his driveway, where blinding light closed his eyes with an exhale.