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27 May 2005 —

Nga Puna Waihanga

Over 30 years ago Nga Puna Waihanga was founded by artists who met on the marae each year in the middle of winter. Often wet, usually freezing, but always warmed by the manaaki of the home crowd, bound by a common kaupapa, connected by the whanaungatanga and a shared experience they exchanged ideas, laughter, gained and gave moral support, and were inspired to continue. It is appropriate that this exhibition is held at this time.

Many of the original artists have since become giants in their respective fields of expertise, recognized nationally and internationally. As the years have passed some who gave the light of their inspiration and knowledge now shine in the heavens.

Haere atu ra, e nga rangatira, Haere, Haere, Haere.

Hone Tuwhare, Para Matchitt, John Bevan Ford, Witi Ihimaera, Selwyn Muru, Arnold Wilson, Hare Williams, Cliff Whiting, Kura Rewiri, to name only a few who supported the group’s focus on the importance of a strong cultural foundation in developing contemporary Maori arts, continue to share their insights, and to create new works.

This exhibition of work at Te Tuhi, selected from artists from Te Taitokerau and Tamaki Makaurau, attempts to reflect on the difference environment may have in informing work that talks about issues pertaining to land, and whakapapa (genealogy). For those who live in their tribal areas, whether urban or rural, the connection is immediate. As in the past, Maori artists have been keen to adapt new ideas and technology to express ideas, and for those living in an urban environment, the relatively easy access to industrial technology is reflected in some of the mark making and materials used to create works.

E nga Rangatira ma, Tena koutou, Tena koutou, Tena Koutou katoa.

Na.

Gabrielle Belz

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→ Nga Puna Waihanga, 2005, publication