We built a jungle


Community arts project in progress


The Jungle Within

The Jungle Within is a community arts project supported by Creative New Zealand, Waipā District Council and Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari. In this project, we will create a paper jungle that will be part of an art installation that we will set up inside the Sanctaury Mountain Maungatautari Visitor Centre.

What is The Jungle Within about?

The concept behind The Jungle Within focuses on the things we would like to see growing within ourselves and within our community. Is about getting together and sharing our stories, stories about who we are and how we fit in the Waipā District community. It’s also about talking about the things we would like to see more of in our community.

How does it work?

We will organise several paper-jungle-making workshops lead by professional artist Claudia Latisnere a.k.a. They Call Me Ninu. During the workshops we will be helping to cut the paper leaves that will be part of our paper jungle. The patterns and the materials will be provided and the workshops will have no cost. We will just ask for a totally voluntary koha to help us pay for the materials that were not covered by the CCS funding. All the dates and the venues for the workshops as well as general updates will be posted on the Facebook group The Jungle Within. Everyone is welcome to join us and the more the merrier!

How can anyone get involved?

There are several ways to get involved but all of them include joining our Facebook group The Jungle Within. The easiest way to get involved is by joining our Facebook group, following our adventure and hearing our stories, that’s it. The most helpful way of getting involved is by joining the workshops and helping us cut the paper leaves for our jungle. And the third and most exciting way to get involved is by helping us putting the jungle together at the Sanctaury Mountain Maungatautari Visitor Centre.


The Jungle Within Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thejunglewithin/


Upcoming Exhibition


A photographic series and a zine about an alien creature on a mission to rural New Zealand.
Opening preview: Saturday 3rd February 2018, 11am - 1pm. Wallace Gallery Morrinsville.


Mbira music for our rural community

Mbira love.jpg

This is Theresa Kiff and me, Claudia Latisnere. We live in rural Waikato and we play the mbira. We both love playing our mbiras together and we want to grow our band and share this marvelous music with more people in our community.

To make our little band grow we need to buy more instruments. The instruments are expensive because they come from Zimbabwe and so we are planning a couple of fundraising events. Theresa and I will perform and play our mbiras in these fundraising events but to perform we need a couple of "dezes." A deze is a traditional "low-tech amplifier" and we need two to perform because mbiras are not very loud.

We currently have enough funds to buy one deze but we need one more and we started a Pledge Me campaign to help us get the second deze.

About mbira music

Mbira is a musical instrument that the Shona people have played for over a thousand years in Zimbabwe. The Shona mbira music is polyrhythmic, soothing and captivating. It also has a very social aspect to it. To learn to play the mbira, you get together and as a group, you help each other out to learn the tunes. And mbira music sounds better when two or more people are playing together. 

Mbira music in New Zealand

Mbira music has traveled all around the world and in New Zealand, we are lucky to have an mbira society in Wellington. Mbira Soc was founded in August 2012 by Julian Raphael, a wonderful community musician, music educator, composer, and performer. We learned everything we know about mbira music from the Mbira Soc!

To help us, all you need to do is click on the link below, sign in to the Pledge Me site, and make a small donation. It would be very much appreciated and you would get a special gift from us in the mail. Because it's wonderful to get special things in the mail!

National Contemporary Art Award Finalist

The National Contemporary Art Award will be exhibited from Saturday 29 July until Sunday 5 November 2017.

About a month ago I received an email from the Waikato Museum saying "congratulations, you have been selected as a finalist in the 2017 National Contemporary Art Award." I was stoked. This would be my first exhibition since I moved to New Zealand and that was four years ago. It took a little while but I felt like I was back on track again. Sometimes I think that moving countries can be a bit like pressing the reset button after being very advanced in the game. The main thing is to never forget about your goal and mine has always been to make art.

I was living in Wellington at the time and I resolved to deliver my piece myself; I thought a road trip to the Waikato would be fun. I packed my work and my bag and borrowed a car from a friend. The drive was six hours full of beautiful landscapes, music, and lots of thinking. I thought about all the projects that I wanted to work on in the next while. I also thought about the times different people tried to discourage me from being a full-time artist. "It's hard and that it doesn't pay the bills," they said. I never listened to their words. I have always believed that a life with a purpose is a life well lived and it always pays off. The images you see below are the photographs that are hanging now on one of the walls at the Waikato Museum.

Greetings from the outer space

“How on earth did I get here?” the thought struck me one day.  You see, in August this year it will be four years since I moved from Mexico to New Zealand. I used to live in Wellington until about ten months ago, when I moved to Pukeatua. If you had asked me, I would never have imagined myself being where I am now. The whole idea would’ve sounded completely alien to me. I am a Mexican living in a small farming community called Pukeatua and I am an artist. What is an artist from the planet Mexico doing far away in the countryside of New Zealand? I’m still trying to figure that out myself. All I can say is that even though some of the decisions I’ve taken in these past few years have been both terrifying and challenging, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Three years ago I got rid of all of my belongings except for those that fitted inside my suitcase and took a one-way flight to New Zealand. Then, similarly, a year ago I decided to leave the security of the waged life and started a self-funded art sabbatical. And ten months ago, I made the bold move to move to the countryside with my partner Nolan. None of these choices were easy, but I got a lot out of them. It’s been nearly four years full of adventures, lots of learning, new experiences, heaps of love, and wonderful people.

These events inspired me to start a new photographic series about life in Pukeatua. I thought about making a sort of caricature of myself and my art undertakings, which I’m sure can appear slightly alien and a bit peculiar to some. The images you see above are a snippet of what I have so far. I’ve been calling this, the Spacegirl project. It’s been fun and interesting to work on this series. It has been reminding me that no matter where I am, art is what I want to do. It has also been making me think about how much I feel accepted and supported, even if not always understood. Of course, I owe much of this support and acceptance to the people around me who have never questioned my projects. You know who you are and I hope that you also know that your kindness and love is much appreciated and reciprocated. So there you are, this is only one of several projects I have been concocting during my art sabbatical. If you would like to follow this story and the ones yet to come you’ll find me as They call me Ninu on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. You can also subscribe to my newsletter and receive the odd email about the current state of things at my little corner in Pukeatua, New Zealand.