Pauline Yearbury (Artist), James Yearbury (Artist)


Tawhirimatea by Pauline Yearbury, James Yearbury

Artwork Detail

The works ‘Tawhirimatea’ and ‘Hine Mahuru’ c.1976 are the work of husband and wife Pauline and James Yearbury. From 1966-1977 the couple operated a very successful artist studio in Russell, where they sold their unique style of carved and stained wood collaborations.

The works were popular with tourists that visited the Bay of Islands and examples of their studio work can be found in numerous private collections. Their works often recalled Māori creation narratives and personified deity found in origin stories. The work Tawhirimatea depicts the God of Winds as he wildly disrupts the landscape sending birds and foliage flying as they encircle and then are tossed aside in rage. Tawhirimatea is depicted as an angry and unpredictable deity, the very traits that he is famous for inhabiting. He is depicted holding his hands to his head in uncontrollably.

The other is Hine Mahuru which can be translated as the Lady of Spring. She heralds the turning of season and we see Hine Mahuru embraced by birds, leaves and adorned with flora as a sign of the change in season.

Pauline Yearbury’s wood panels, printmaking and painting practice forged new ways to imagine and associate to Māori creations narratives that were compelling and forthright for their time. Furthermore, Pauline Yearbury and Cliff Whiting are two of the first contemporary Māori artists to pioneer and celebrate Māori creation stories in vivid and graphic representations in their art practice. In 1976 Yearbury went on to publish the illustrated story of The Children of Rangi and Papa which would become an iconic and popular publication.

Pauline Yearbury, James Yearbury
Production date
circa 1976
incised wood panel, dyed stain
610 x 300 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2018
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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