Michael Parekōwhai

Tua Whitu

Tua Whitu by Michael Parekōwhai

Artwork Detail

This instrument is one of a unique edition which has the collective title Ten Guitars. Each customised instrument has different patterns derived from kowhaiwhai (rafter paintings) and, like all multiple art works, each is numbered. Tua whitu, ‘the seventh’ in Te Reo Māori, is inlaid in paua-shell lettering at the 12th fret.

Engelbert Humperdink’s song Ten Guitars – the ‘B’ side of Please Release Me (1967) – was forgotten in the rest of the world but appropriated by Māori who had moved from rural areas to cities. As the artist has stated ‘in the 60s the guitar was like a portable marae’.

toru, wha…

(Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, 2002)

Tua Whitu
Michael Parekōwhai
Production date
custom-made ‘Patriot’ semi-acoustic jazz guitar, maple, spruce, rewarewa, kauri, ebony and paua
1200 x 570 x 500 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2001
Accession no
Other ID
C2001/1/5/1-3 Old Accession Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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