Keri-Mei Zagrobelna – Taurangi


Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, #1 Tāmau thread through front (pendant), New Zealand Jade, fine silver, sterling silver, cattle bone, 14ct gold leaf, 2017

Context: (verb) to betroth, promise in marriage.
Female and Male – Pounamu component is the male and the bone is the female, representing the female and male genitalia. The bone “ring” is representational to that of a wedding band. The pounamu pendant piece threads through the bone link to create a union, ‘chain link’. Red words are representational to the blood union of both female and male to the creation of and birthing to “new life”. The gold leaf is the sacred new life.

Pledge: “to always be kind to my partner/mother/father in the hopes of birthing new joy into the world”

Just A Word

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, #2 Just a Word (beaded necklace), mother of pearl, kowhai seed, enamel paint, beading thread, 2017

Context: A promise is only valuable if it is bound and upheld otherwise it becomes “just a word”
When the words are linked together by ‘action’ My action being of scrimshaw and threading the necklace together through thought, karakia (prayer) and meditation on the word “voveo” (promise) it is then given strength. Strength through action. If careless unconscious making is done through thoughtless action then the letters fail, fall or get muddled up, the words then become just that—”scattered promises”.

Pledge: “to honour my promises and pledges with faith and clarity through conscious action and thought”


Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, #3 Whakaoati (brooch), whalebone, 14ct gold, 9ct gold, sterling and fine silver, 2017

Context: (loan) (verb) (-tia) to place under oath, take an oath, swear in, pledge, promise.
The bone in the piece represents our whale as being one of the largest creatures in the world. The smaller seeds like gold and silver balls represent our smaller creatures such as the tiniest insects. The whale bone wraps around these reminding us that there is an intricate balance between all creatures of this planet that needs to be honoured and taken care of. The gold in the smaller bead like seeds is a reminder that even the smallest of these creatures such as bees are precious, for the hopes and best interests of the planet and humanity.

Pledge:”to be kind and honour all creatures of this planet, great and small”


Keri Mei Zagrobelna, Awhero (pendant), 2017, fine and sterling silver, New Zealand Jade, cattle bone.

Context: (modifier) promising.
The context of this word is within “there were a number of promising students/people/workers”
The scrimshaw words represent our own blood and mana (strength). Scrimshaw is also an act where you need to concentrate and emerge yourself into the work you are doing or you will slip, cut yourself or potentially ruin your piece.This pendant leads more to the meditational process that we all possess and the power of mind over matter. The pounamu drops are tokens in which you can rub and fondle when in contemplation, meditation or to relieve stress when anxious. The bone being white and representing breath and purity is to remind us to breathe and take time for ourselves when we are often overwhelmed with the fast pace pressured society that we live in, because we are all promising students of life with much potential to fill.

Pledge: “to breath…. be gentle to oneself and practice self-love”


Keri Mei Zagrobelna, Taunaha (pendant), 2017 New Zealand Jade, fine and sterling silver

Context: (verb) (-tia) to pledge, promise, set aside.
This piece is to remind us of the lands that have been set aside for us in order to gain education, farming for food (survival) and environmental parks such as natural reserves.

It is our duty to remember these areas that have been set aside for us historically and present and to honour how important they are in everyday life. Without these areas to sustain us mentally, physically and spiritually, humanity will not function. We can already see the damage we have caused to our environment and we have a responsibility to future generations to take action now, to set aside time and care back into our whenua (land).

Pledge: “to take care of the environment that sustains me and to plant a tree within the next 12 months”


Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, #6 Taurangi front (pendant), 2017, New Zealand Jade, fine and sterling silver, bronze, enamel paint, nylon thread

Context: (verb) (-hia,-tia) to guarantee, assure, promise, pledge; (verb) (-hia,-tia) to grieve for; (noun) promise (often in the phrases kī taurangi and kupu taurangi); (verb) to be unsettled, changing, changeable
This piece is an advancement from my Moko Kauae series that I started in 2012. The mouth is a contemporary representation of Moko Kauae (māori female chin tattoo) which represents whakapapa (genealogy), status, ritual, achievements gained and beautification/adornment.It is an ongoing series that is exploring colonisation, neo-colonisation, cultural assimilation and cultural appropriation.

The words “taurangi” are written on the inside of the mouth to remind us that promises are kept within and are sacred. They are written in red to represent our blood and genetic ties…globally. Many believe that modern humans evolved in Africa and gradually replaced all other ancient humans, this is called The Out of Africa Theory. In essence, this means that we are all globally connected through DNA.

The mouthpiece is made to be likened to “stone” representing some of the materials of the first “man-made” tools and jewellery. These artefacts are seen as the first signs of purposeful, planned out adornment and technological advancement by the human species.

Pledge: “to honour indigenous culture with respect and dignity, to remember the teachings of those that have come before and that we are all inter-connected”

Kupu Taurangi

Keri Mei Zagrobelna, Kupu Taurangi (brooch), 2017, Sterling silver

Context: (noun) promise, oath, guarantee, pledge.
Words can carry much strength across generations and across oceans. This piece is to remind us of the strength that our words can carry. They can damage and they can heal, empower or destroy whole nations. It is only up to you as an individual to decide how you will use them whether that be orally or written.

Pledge: “to watch my words with care, consideration and respect to others regardless of creed, nationality, religion, sex, occupation or political status”



Keri-Mei Zagrobelna, Whakataurangi, 2017, pendant, fine and sterling silver, New Zealand Jade (Pounamu)

Context: (verb) (-hia,-tia) to pledge, assure, promise, vow. (noun) pledge, assurance, promise, vow
The context of this piece is similar to “Taunaha” A reminder to us of the lands that give us food for survival and the lakes, rivers and springs that provide us with water to drink. At least 60% of the adult body is made of water and every living cell in the body needs it to keep functioning.The maximum time an individual can go without water seems to be a week — an estimate that would certainly be shorter in difficult conditions, like broiling heat. The proper estimate would be more likely 3-4 days.Without water to sustain us mentally, physically and spiritually, humanity will not function. We have already caused so much damage to our environment and can see these results in our rivers and lakes, killing fish and spreading disease. It is our responsibility to future generations to take action now, to set aside time and care back into our whenua (land) and waters.

Pledge: “to take care of the environment that sustains me, to do in the best of my ability to not pollute and keep our water-ways clean, to do a river/lake/spring/beach cleanup within the next 12 months”


Materials: Sterling silver

Function: Ring

Context: (loan) (verb) (-tia) to swear an oath, swear in, promise, pledge, guarantee, vow, swear, assure, undertake.
This piece is made with intentions of good faith and support to artists. The ring is made of a semi precious material (silver) symbolising the wealth of the work we do as an artist. It is based off a “signet” or “seal” ring which were used often to seal letters, sign documents and other official business matters. By purchasing the stamped parchments or brooch created from this main “oati” ring, the public are pledging their faith and encouragement in regards to supporting myself as an artist so that I can continue to live and carry on my body of research and exploration in the contemporary jewellery world, in hopes of better cultural communication and understanding.

Pledge: “I pledge to support artists with the best of my ability”

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna
Iwi affiliations: Te Whanau-a- Apanui and Te Ati Awa

Keri-Mei is a New Zealand based jeweller, working mainly with stone, metals and other locally sourced materials. She has exhibited widely, throughout New Zealand and internationally. She is currently a part of The Handshake Project 2017 and has previously exhibited at the Pātaka Gallery Museum, The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and also co-presented at the International JEMposium. Last year she was a part of the New Zealand delegation that travelled to Guam for The Pacific Arts Festival.

“I come from a background entwined in museums and art, worlds in which both my grandmother and mother worked and I practice art in memory of these wonderful wahine (women) and to acknowledge my tipuna (ancestors). My work aesthetic represents the connectedness to my immediate environment and upbringing. It speaks of cultural communication and interpersonal relationships—I use jewellery as my language and speak through my hands. My eyes hear my thoughts and translate. Jewellery making is a medium by which I can communicate my heritage to both local and global audiences. I seek to nurture and encourage others through my work, by way of my actions and choices as an artist.”
– Keri-Mei Zagrobelna

Instagram @keri_mei_z