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Robyn Kahukiwa (Ngati Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti) is a beloved New Zealand artist, award-winning children's book author and illustrator.

She is also one of New Zealand’s foremost Māori women artists living today. Robyn began painting in the 1970s when her children were small. Her intention was to replace for them the modern stereotypes of Māori with strong role models. She aimed to give Māori an accessible, contemporary reflection of their culture.

Robyn Kahukiwa’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is in the collections of many art galleries. She is considered an art icon and role model, a leading voice in contemporary Māori art and an international leader in indigenous art. Robyn celebrates the values and strengths of Māori culture in powerfully spiritual depictions of life (wairua), women and children, the family and their relationships with the land, myths and legends, and ancestors. Determined that her art remain accessible to all, she has published books and created a series of collectable prints.

This 9 panelled painting was created while the artist had a residency (studio space) at City Gallery Wellington in 1988. This allowed her to make large works. She had previously been painting in her bedroom, or on her kitchen table.

He Tatai Whetu… was included in a touring group exhibition of contemporary Māori art that went to various cities around the USA in the early 1990s. The exhibition was called Te Waka Toi. On its return to Aotearoa the exhibition was shown at City Gallery Wellington where it was purchased by the Wellington City Council.

The painting depicts Gods across the top six panels:
Tane – God of trees and all the forests
Haumia-tiketike – God of uncultivated foods
Tangaroa – God of the seas
Tāwhirimātea – God of the winds
Rongomatane – God of peace
Tūmatauenga – God of war
The three bottom panels depict figures that represent the tangata whenua, the people who carpet the earth.

This painting was previously on display in the foyer of the Wellington City Council building on Wakefield Street for 26 years.
Oil on compacted hardboard
Total dimensions: hxw 2070mm x 5940mm (approx)
6 panels hxw 1250 x 990mm
3 panels hxw 820 x 1825mm
Frame breadth: 15mm
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Wellington City Council has permission from the copyright owners to use the images. You may not make copies, reproduce, sell or distribute these images. Apply to the copyright holder directly for permission.


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