The demi-god Māui is celebrated in Māori culture as the ultimate provocateur, perhaps most renowned for attempting to obtain immortality for humankind. Artists are very much like Māui – they are innovators and tricksters, creating work that provokes response. They offer prophetic statements loaded with philosophical teachings and dwell upon the fallible and mortal nature of our existence. In doing so they identify what separates our realm – Ira Tangata – from that of the gods – Ira Atua.

The dramatic change and adversity of the early 19th-century European settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand gave rise to Māori prophets and religious movements that uniquely combined Māori philosophy with that of newly introduced Christianity. It also brought about the Treaty of Waitangi, first signed by representatives of the British Crown and some 540 Māori rangatira (chiefs). A fundamental difference in understanding about the Treaty resulted from the deceptive mistranslation of crucial concepts, however: Māori did not believe that they were ceding authority, and have since insisted that the terms of the Treaty as conveyed in the te reo Māori version be upheld. This call found real momentum in the 1970s: Māori voices were heard at the sites of power, demanding leadership roles in the country’s development.

As Māori creation narratives attest, there has always been a place for the provocative individual within the collective. This truth is evident in Māui’s story. The art of the 1990s was born of significant social, political and cultural change. A diverse mix of artists created work informed by whakapapa (genealogical connection) but expressed with individuality, rather than solely within a culture of collective identity. Many artists also emerged from a collective art practice, such as in the realm of film, and their work is strongly associated with Māori concepts of whakapapa and oral language.

 

E whakanuia ana a Māui te tipua e te ahurea Māori hei kaiwhakapātari taioreore, ākene pea ko tāna mahi rongonui katoa ko te whakamātau i te rironga mai o te oranga tonutanga mō te tangata. He rite tonu ngā ringa toi ki a Māui - he hunga auaha, he hīanga hoki, he waihanga toi e whakaara ana i te urupare. Ka tuku i ētahi whakapuakitanga poropiti e utaina ana ki ngā akoranga hinengaro, ā, e mau ana ngā kōrero mō te āhua pōhēhē me te ao matemate o tō tātou tauoranga. Nā tēnei, e tautuhi ana rātou i te mea e wehe ana i tō tātou ao - Te Ira Tangata - mai i tō ngā atua - Te Ira Atua.

Nā te hurirapatanga me te whakararutanga o te taetaenga mai o Tauiwi i ngā tīmatanga o te rautau 19 ki Aotearoa, ka ara mai ai ngā poropiti Māori me ngā kaupapa whakapono, i ahurei ai te whakakotahi i te whakaaro Māori ki tō te whakaaro Karaitiana hou. Nāna hoki i mau mai Te Tiriti o Waitangi, i waitohua tuatahitia e ngā māngai o te Karauna me ētahi rangatira Māori 540. I hua ake tētahi rerekētanga whakapū o te māramatanga mō te Tiriti nā te māminga o te whakamāoritanga i ngā tino kaupapa, engari: kāore te Māori e whakapono ake i tukuna tōna tino rangatiratanga, ā, e tohe tonu ana kia hāpaitia ngā take o te Tiriti i amohia i roto i te reo Māori. Ka kaha te kōkiritia o tēnei take i ngā tau o te 1970: ka tīmata te rongo i ngā reo Māori i ngā wāhi whai mana, he reo e whakahau ana i ngā tūranga hautū i te whakahaeretanga o te motu.

E ai ki ngā kōrero Māori mō te orokohanga o te ao, he tūranga tūturu mā te kaiwhakapātari i roto tonu i te rōpū. E mārakerake ana te kite i tēnei i roto i ngā kōrero mō Māui. I hua ake ngā toi o ngā tau 1990 i ngā panonitanga ā-pāpori, ā-tōrangapū, ā-ahurea nui hoki. I waihangatia e tētahi reanga ringa toi kanorau ngā taonga toi i whiwhi mōhio i te whakapapa, heoi anō ko te whakapuaki i te toi he āhuatanga takitahi, ehara i te mahi nō roto i te tuakiri o te ahurea o te rōpū. He nui ngā ringa toi i maea mai i te mahi toi ā-rōpū, pērā i te ao kiriata, ā, ko ā rātou mahi e hāngai pū ana ki ngā tikanga whakaaro a te Māori, arā te whakapapa me te reo ā-waha.

 

Artworks | Mahi toi

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On display

Pare To My Place, 2017
Pare To My Place, 2017

John Walsh

On display

Production date
2017
Medium
oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
1560 x 3080 mm
Credit line
[Rob Palmer]
Accession no
X2020/108/1
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Reconstituting the constitution, tea anyone?
Reconstituting the constitution, tea anyone?

Linda Munn

On display

Production date
2013
Medium
mixed media installation
Size (h x w)
790 x 380 x 545 mm
Credit line
Private collection, Auckland
Accession no
X2020/80/6.1-5
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Strategic Plan
Strategic Plan

Peter Robinson

On display

Production date
1998
Medium
oil and acrylic on canvas
Size (h x w)
2500 x 5000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1999
Accession no
1999/30
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On display

Dirty Money Series
Dirty Money Series

Taika Waititi

On display

Production date
1999
Medium
ink on bank notes
Size (h x w)
450 x 410 mm
Accession no
X2020/90.1-3
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On display

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria

Jeremy Leatinu'u

On display

Production date
2013
Medium
video
Credit line
courtesy of the artist
Accession no
X2020/60
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On display

Painting 1993
Painting 1993

Peter Robinson

On display

Production date
1993
Medium
tar, wax, earth and oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
1020 x 5320 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
1993/8
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On display

Land March
Land March

Cliff Whiting

On display

Production date
1975
Medium
pen and wash
Size (h x w)
595 x 420 mm
Credit line
courtesy of Toi Māori Aotearoa
Accession no
X2020/97
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On display

This Land is Ours
This Land is Ours

Buck Nin

On display

Production date
circa 1978
Medium
acrylic and fluorescent paint on board
Size (h x w)
1200 x 1000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2013
Accession no
2013/15
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On display

Te Tohu Tuatahi
Te Tohu Tuatahi

Kura Te Waru Rewiri

On display

Production date
1991
Medium
acrylic on board
Size (h x w)
1620 x 1860 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1993
Accession no
1993/33.1-3
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On display

S23/ 2.1 Ratana Road 1998
S23/ 2.1 Ratana Road 1998

Natalie Robertson

On display

Production date
2001
Medium
digital print on Dibond
Size (h x w)
800 x 1200 x 17 mm
Credit line
Courtesy of the artist
Accession no
X2020/147/3
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On display

U23/4.2 Te Whiti Road 1998
U23/4.2 Te Whiti Road 1998

Natalie Robertson

On display

Production date
2001
Medium
digital print on Dibond
Size (h x w)
800 x 1200 x 17 mm
Credit line
Courtesy of the artist
Accession no
X2020/147/4
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On display

Te Uri O Te Ao
Te Uri O Te Ao

Emily Karaka

On display

Production date
1995
Medium
oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
3005 x 1898 x 35 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with the assistance of Reader's Digest New Zealand Limited, 1997
Accession no
1997/9.1-2
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On display

Maui, Ancestor of the Pacific
Maui, Ancestor of the Pacific

John Bevan Ford

On display

Production date
1993
Medium
felt pen, pencil
Size (h x w)
570 x 768 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
1994/5/1
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On display

Maui and Mahuika
Maui and Mahuika

John Bevan Ford

On display

Production date
1993
Medium
felt pen and pencil
Size (h x w)
570 x 768 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
1994/5/4
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On display

Untitled
Untitled

Para Matchitt

On display

Production date
1969
Medium
lacquer on board
Size (h x w)
1828 x 1220 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2007
Accession no
2007/14/1
Untitled

Para Matchitt

On display

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On display

Resurrection of Te Whiti over Taranaki
Resurrection of Te Whiti over Taranaki

Selwyn Muru

On display

Production date
1975-1977
Medium
oil on board
Size (h x w)
1220 x 1357 mm
Credit line
Courtesy of Muru Whānau
Accession no
X2020/88/1
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On display

Crown pursuit of Te Kooti 1868-1872
Crown pursuit of Te Kooti 1868-1872

Aimee Ratana

On display

Production date
2012
Medium
wool, felt, thread
Size (h x w)
1900 x 1350 mm
Credit line
Auckland Council Art Collection
Accession no
X2020/37/2
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On display

Rua Kenana’s arrest Maungapohatu 1916
Rua Kenana’s arrest Maungapohatu 1916

Aimee Ratana

On display

Production date
2012
Medium
woollen blanket, felt, thread
Size (h x w)
1800 x 1300 mm
Credit line
The University of Waikato Art Collection
Accession no
X2020/100
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On display

Tame Iti's arrest Ruatoki Raids 2007. Labelled by media as Tuhoe Terrorists. Government enforced Terrorist Suppression Act.
Tame Iti's arrest Ruatoki Raids 2007. Labelled by media as Tuhoe Terrorists. Gov...

Aimee Ratana

On display

Production date
2012
Medium
woollen blanket, felt, thread
Size (h x w)
1860 x 1370 mm
Credit line
Collection of Tame Iti
Accession no
X2020/36/2
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On display

Tawhiao en rouge, LD #27
Tawhiao en rouge, LD #27

James Ormsby

On display

Production date
2019
Medium
graphite, pigment, wax and studio dust on paper
Size (h x w)
2670 x 1590 mm
Credit line
courtesy of the artist and PAULNACHE
Accession no
X2020/83/2