Kura Te Waru Rewiri

Te Tohu Tuatahi

Te Tohu Tuatahi by Kura Te Waru Rewiri

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Te Tohu Tuatahi confronts a part of New Zealand's political history with which most New Zealanders still struggle to come to terms. Beneath lines of white paint, which flow down its surface like a veil of tears, are signatures taken from the country's founding document, the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Signed by over 500 rangatira and by Lieutenant-Governor Hobson as representative of the British Crown, the Treaty guaranteed Mäori 'exclusive and undisturbed possession of Mäori Lands, Estates, Forests, Fisheries and other properties . . .'. In return, Mäori would give the Crown first right to purchase any land the Mäori wished to dispose of. In 1840 Mäori owned over 66 million acres of land; the following year a Land Claims Ordinance stated that any land not actually occupied or used by Mäori automatically belonged to the Crown; then in 1877 the Chief Justice of New Zealand declared the Treaty to be 'a simple nullity', and successive pieces of Native Land Legislation ensured that by 1975 only 3 million acres were still in Mäori ownership. Rewiri's work is a call to action: '. . . we are tangata whenua, my belief is that we have to get through a whole lot of colonial imprinting on our memories to stand back and say: Hey, this doesn't seem quite right, and Why? and work on it'. Born in Kaeo, Rewiri grew up at Waitangi, site of the first signing of the Treaty. (from The Guide, 2001)

Te Tohu Tuatahi
Production date
acrylic on board
1620 x 1860 mm
1. Left panel: signed and dated lower r.c "KURA TE WARU REWIRI 8/91". 2. Centre pnael signed and dated l.l vertically "KURA TE WARU REWIRI". 3. Right panel signed and dated l.l vertically "KURA TE WARU REWIRI".
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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