Adoptee and artist Froyle Davies spent 47 years of her life in Australia. She discovered her Maori lineage when she traced her birth father to New Zealand. He had passed on, but she was able to connect with several members of his family. Her path through that experience led to her new exhibition—Inheritance: The Continuation of the Journey Home. It opens on May 5 in Palmerston North, New Zealand and runs until June 5.
Davies shared in her blog, “It makes me wonder about what makes a family? For me, it is both blood and choice … This amazing story of reconciliation, family, and destiny, just keeps unfolding!” She is learning more every day about her Maori heritage and the culture and traditions that go along with it. “When I first met my brother Brownie, he embraced me into the family, reciting our whakapapa and blessing me in Te Reo. He gave me the pendant from around his neck.”
The gift of that pendant has inspired a new series of work. It only took Davies a few short months to sell most of her belongings and move to Palmerston North. She is studying for a Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts degree at Massey University. Having always felt out of place, she is finally somewhere she feels she belongs.
Davies’ mom placed a child for adoption when she was very young. Later in life, she had one child biologically and adopted two. One of Froyle’s brothers, Quintin, died long ago. The other, Michael, had gone with their adoptive father to New Zealand after their parents divorced. Froyle and Michael went many years without contact, but they have recently reunited.
Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. Defining aspects of Maori culture include art, legends, tattoos, performances, customs, hospitality, and community. To learn more, visit www.maori.com.
You can see her work and read more about her amazing journey and how she finds new culture through reunion at www.froyleart.com.