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Wanderlust with Rachel Mataira

13 May 2021

Live vicariously through the past wanderings of Kiwi explorers — no aeroplane needed. This week we feature artist Rachel Mataira.

WORDS BY Fashion Quarterly New Zealand

Last year saw 50,000 New Zealanders return home from overseas — and stay home, with borders closing rapidly around the globe — we’ve had to push pause on our habitual peregrinations. It is a Kiwi rite of passage to venture abroad often and enthusiastically, so we’re indulging in a healthy dose of nostalgia. We’ve replaced planning with pining, and, because it’s no fun to reminisce alone, we asked artist Rachel Mataira about her travels and how they have influenced her. 

Both travel and life inspire my work

My work is influenced by the beauty of the world through my landscape photography, and its raw realities through my documentary work. I have found there is both beauty and raw realities wherever you travel to in the world, so my work is inspired by home and abroad.

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Travel has encouraged me to be open-minded to different people and experiences 

 When you travel, you’re putting yourself outside your daily comfort zone and experiencing something new. I’ve taken this philosophy from travel and apply it to my daily life. I think it’s important to be open-minded.

I’m extremely grateful for the international travel I’ve done over the years 

However, travel for me is now about exploring our beautiful country and the places I have not yet been to. Although I am disappointed we can’t go overseas at the moment, I feel grateful that there are so many places in New Zealand we can explore. I can only hope my relationship with travel will continue to grow when we return to normal, but having seen more of New Zealand ticked off first.

One of the best books I’ve read while on holiday was David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell 

A key message I liked from the book is that everyone reacts to hardship differently, and, although it’s not always possible to rise above challenging circumstances, he talks about humans being more resilient than they may think. He talks about turning negative experiences into an opportunity to reinvigorate yourself. 

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