Contemporary Maori Art Movement

Maori are the native people of New Zealand. Our land is dramatic and diverse, with beautiful mountains, large forests and wide rivers that meander through fertile country to the sea. Our stories tell of the creation of this land, from the lava flow emerging out of the ocean to the…
Both the Dutch and the Spanish visited our country before the British. It was not until the 1800s that the first British colonists arrived in large numbers. The early settlers were interested only in exploiting the rich land and sea resources, which included gold, timber, large stretches of land suitable…
During the 1950s, Maori families were often large and lived in relatively loose-knit sub-tribes. In my family there were twelve children, and my mother and elder sisters and brothers “looked after" several others. My father's father married twice and had twenty-five children with his two wives. Tribal gatherings were often…
The very early Maori artists laid the foundation from which Maori art evolved and Maori culture is reflected. They were known mainly by their tribal affiliation rather than as individuals, and the tribal styles of carving and weaving they created have been handed down to succeeding generations. Ritual and cultural…
A collective called the New Zealand Maori Artists and Writers Society was formed in the 1960s to consolidate the talent, networks and knowledge that were loosely held by Maori artists around the country. Georgina Kirby, who would later become Dame Georgina for her services to Maori, and the educator, writer,…
By the 1970s' the young adults who had drifted to the cities in the 1950s had given birth to another generation of Maori born and raised in the city and therefore separated from their tribal roots. Unemployment in New Zealand had greatly escalated by this time, and the government implemented…
In 1984, a major exhibition of traditional Maori carving opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city, later traveling to Chicago and San Francisco.The exhibition ‘Te Maori’ received rave reviews in the United States and acted as a catalyst for New Zealand to review its attitude towards…
Male artists dominated the contemporary Maori art movement despite the fact that the international women's liberation movement was well established. Until the 1980s the visual art of Maori women was dominated by traditional weaving. Weavers such as Dame Rangimarie Hetet, her daughter Diggeress Te Kanawa, Te Aue Davis, Erenora Puketapu…
In the 1980s, a number of Maori artists began working in clay and expanding the scope of their art. Although some artists who were teachers in the New Zealand Department of Education in the 1960s had explored clay art, the movement began to develop its greatest momentum under Manos Nathan,…
In the 1980s, a number of Maori artists began working in clay and expanding the scope of their art. Although some artists who were teachers in the New Zealand Department of Education in the 1960s had explored clay art, the movement began to develop its greatest momentum under Manos Nathan,…