sarah_ivey Best of Society and Culture A window on ourselves, in all our diversity — we present the best society and culture photography. Written by emmasmith At an event in promotion of a line of skincare, Waikato Times photojournalist Mark Taylor noticed that many of the 30 guests were on their phones as they waited to be seated. Adjusting his exposure, he captured the light of each woman’s smartphone screen illuminating her face. Photographer David White travelled to the Urewera for a Sunday Star Times photo essay on the historic Treaty settlement with Tūhoe. “The backbone of the story was going to hinge on an interview with tribal elder Tame Iti, but from a photographic point of view, I wanted to concentrate more on the Tūhoe youth,” he says. In the village of Tuai, he came across nine-year-old Te Ataahia Lambert and her family; after a cup of tea, he asked if he could photograph the children while they tended their horses in the fading light. When he raised his camera to photograph Te Ataahia, she widened her eyes and clenched her mouth in a pūkana, a facial expression used for emphasis. Devonport resident Shirley Wilma is comforted by a friend after a tornado ripped through the Auckland suburb on the evening of October 8, 2013. Brett Phibbs arrived on the scene shortly after the wind gusts struck and photographed the embrace of friends among uprooted trees and fallen power lines. A photographer for the New Zealand Herald, he says the most important thing in covering natural disasters is arriving quickly enough to capture the human reaction. Ian Harrison and his partner Megan were at a Ratana church on a peaceful evening in Raetihi. Harrision says that as his partner approached the church, a horse in the neighboring paddock came over to greet her. He waited for the moment when the horse touched Megan’s outstretched hand to take the photo. Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana founded the Ratana Movement in the early 20th century at the settlement of Ratana, near Whanganui. Initially known as a healer, many people flocked to hear his teachings which led to the establishment of his own church in 1925 with it’s distinctive bell towers. The 2011 White Sunday celebrations in Auckland began with a procession of around 100 children and parents along Great North Road to Avondale Union Parish church. White Sunday, or Lotu Tamaiti, is among the most important dates in the Samoan religious calendar. Children enjoy special privileges, such as speaking in church and being served first at the lunch feast. White is worn to symbolise the purity of a child’s heart. Saleapaga, on the south coast of Samoa’s main island, was one of the villages worst affected by the 2009 tsunami, which tore through the seaside fales and claimed 186 lives. A year on, a new village had been constructed five kilometres inland. I spent a comparatively long time in this makeshift village, gained the trust of the locals and could move around almost unnoticed. Eventually, I found three-year-old Aloali’i sitting among husked coconuts being dried for market. She had an unusual solitude. The light was low, but perfect. I positioned myself above her with a wide-angle lens, and as she glanced up, I released the shutter. Her eyes have everything. There’s nothing more kiwi than a bonfire on the beach at Conway Flats. Rachel Lowrie peers into the Mangawhai estuary as her stepfather Michael Brown rows towards the township after their outboard motor broke down at the end of a day’s fishing.