Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history Poverty Bay - taonga maori
Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery


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Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori



Iwirakau : The House of Ponga

12 December - 21 February

This exhibition is a celebration of the Ngati Porou ancestor Iwirakau, who lived in the Waiapu valley, and the carving tradition that takes his name. Ngati Porou are the indigenous people whose territory stretches from Potikirua at the top of the East Coast to Te Toka a Taiau at the mouth of the Turanganui River in Gisborne. The Iwirakau carvers created meeting houses for their people. Many of these houses continue to be used for community events, while the carvings from some houses that have been taken down are cared for within whanau or hapu or in museums in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas.

Tamanui te Ra - Toihoukura
27 November – 31 January

   Randall Leach - Kaitiaki

This year’s summer exhibition by the students of Toihoukura will be presented in the smallest of our art galleries and accordingly the artwork will be down-sized to fit the space. In the past between thirty to fifty artworks had been submitted for each annual exhibition, this intake will no doubt be less in number.

The painting shown here is displayed in the exhibition Watersheds. Randall Leach's painting features the ruru, or owl, which is the artist's spiritual kaitiaki  or guardian. The bird hovers protectively, wings outstretched, symbolising the ever-watchful guardianship over the whenua (land), and the tangata whenua  ( literally, people of the land-the local) people.

The Rutherford Trust Collection
30 October – 7 February

  A Man and a Woman - Michael Illingworth

The Rutherford Trust has assembled a rich and diverse Collection of works of mainly contemporary New Zealand art. The earliest work in the Collection is a Maud Sherwood watercolour dating from 1905; there are examples of works from the 1930s and ‘40s but the main emphasis is on the 1980s and ‘90s. Artists such as Rita Angus, Don Binney, Frances Hodgkins, Paratene Matchitt, Colin McCahon are featured in this unique assembledge.

Ki Wiwi Ki Wawa - Here and There

12 February - 21 March 2010

A survey of what it means to be Nati, from the perspective of those at home and those away from home.

Ki wiwi ki wawa, looks at the influence of the papakainga, and the effect that distance has on the art that is created.

What does it mean to be a Nati artist when you live outside of the Tairawhiti? Where is home and how is that reflected in the work you create. What is the conversation inherent within the work? How does it differ from that which is produced at home? Is there in fact any difference at all?

Conversely, those who live at home have often done so quite deliberately. How does their work reflect this choice? Does it differ again if they have been away and returned home?

These are some of the questions posed of the artists taking part in this group show on at the Tairawhiti Museum in February 2010.

Curated by Tania Short and designed by Martin D. Page, this show explores the nature of whakapapa/geneaology relationships. Featuring work by Auckland artists Natalie Robertson, Rangituhia Hollis, Dion Hitchens, and Hawkes Bay based Chris Bryant; who explore their connections to ‘home’. Local artists Melanie Tahata, Simon Lardelli, Peter Kaa, Sam Taare and Tania Short represent the home contingent. The collection presents works in a range of media that includes installation, video and animation, digital pixelation, sculpture, painting, carving, and photography.

Personal anecdotes from the artists are shared through an exhibition catalogue available at the show.

Not Just Black And White

5 February - 28 March 2010

A small selection of images from the Tairawhiti Museum’s phototographic collection. Displayed will be images that have been altered using the technique of hand-colouring or ‘hand-tinting’. Originally slated by conventional photographers as being "A rank perversion of photography", the technique grew to be a useful brush in the photographers and printers toolset.

Treaty 2 U
25 February - 25 April 2010

Developed by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o Te Kawanatanga and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa.

Discover the Treaty of Waitangi, this exhibition observes the events leading up to the signing, what took place in 1840 and showcases

examples of contemporary case studies which determines its present day relevance.



Gisborne Artists Society and Pottery Group 2010

26 March - 2 May 2010

Wainui - Vouletti V.H. Williams                                                                 Korowai - Peggy Ericson

Paintings, prints and ceramics by members of the Gisborne Artists Society and Potters Group.

Exhibition Opening 5:30pm Friday 26 March

 New Zealand and the Vietnam War
 31 March - 14 May 2010

    Helicopter assault departing from Luscombe Field Nui Dat - Evan Black


 A history of New Zealand’s participation in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1972. While many protested against New Zealand’s involvement, thirty seven New Zealand Soldiers were killed and 187 were wounded in Vietnam.

Nigel Brown: The Written Word

4 June - 4 July 2010

    Pine Taiapa - Nigel Brown

Paintings and prints from the collections of Nigel Brown, the James Wallace Trust and Tairawhiti Museum. Brown is an artist of strong convictions about environmental issues, New Zealand history and the importance of the arts in our cultural traditions.

Power Dressing 
30 April - 11 July 2010



Power Dressing is an exhibition of Chinese and Korean robes from Dr Jack Richards’ private collection on display at the museum until 11 July. These garments are particularly notable for their symbolic embroidery designs. Valerie Carson will present a lecture and discuss some of the robes in the gallery on Wednesday 9 June. Valerie trained at the Textile Conservation Centre, based at Hampton Court Palace, and was a textile conservator at Te Papa for 25 years where she provided conservation treatments for a wide range of textile collections. She is an expert in the identification and history of textiles and has a particular interest in Chinese and Indian textiles.

Professor Jack Richards has been collecting embroidered Chinese and Korean robes for more than twenty years. Jolene Douglas, the museum’s exhibitions curator, has selected twenty garments from this Sydney based collection to create Power Dressing, an exhibition that demonstrates the extraordinary range and quality of Korean and Chinese textile makers and embroiderers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who continued to adhere to the traditions of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The intricacy of the embroidery will fascinate both experienced practitioners and those who aspire to such standards of excellence.

Dr Damian Skinner, exhibition curator, went to Sydney to consult with an expert on Asian textiles:

"The most interesting thing for me was working with Christina Sumner from the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, and hearing her analyse the textiles from a formal point of view - what they are made of, how they were woven or embroidered. It was like a domestic CSI: all this hidden information coming to light. It was also interesting to find out more about the relationship between tradition and power, to spend time looking at and thinking about garments which are effectively symbolic representations of whole world views, a way of understanding how the universe is ordered."


Tairawhiti Landscapes  -  from the museum fine arts collection

7 May - 11 July 2010

    Untitled (Landscape featuring Mt.Hikurangi) - Norman Scott 

Shades of Fantastic

9 July - 12 September 2010


Gisborne artists Rom Brown and Jack Straker bring together a collection of artworks based entirely in the realm of the imaginary. Carnivorous gnomes, sentient stones and smouldering cauldrons are just some of what will be discovered.

Rom would like to acknowledge the support of the Creative Communities Scheme, Gisborne District.

Body In Action

17 July 2010 - 19 September 2010




Rockers & Rollers

19 November 2010 - 14 January 2011


Printmaking emerged in the 1970s as a dynamic and affordable art form that engaged a much wider audience with contemporary New Zealand art. While the New Zealand Print Council provided a national forum for printmakers at this time, there were also a number of metropolitan and regional printmaker collectives throughout New Zealand. In Gisborne, Penny Ormerod led an active group of printmakers and a number of that group are still printmaking today.

Rockers and Rollers, a selection of New Zealand prints from the New Zealand Print Council Collection, collected from 1967 until 1977, includes works by Pat Hanly, John Drawbridge, Marilynn Webb, Barry Cleavin, Robin White, Penny Ormerod, Roy Cowan, Gordon Walters and Jeffrey Harris. The New Zealand Print Council Collection was gifted to Aratoi the Wairarapa Museum of Art and History. Aratoi has generously made this selection of prints from the collection available for exhibition at Tairâwhiti Museum. 

Te Matatini o te Ra

10 December 2010 - 16 January 2011


Each year the graduating students from Toihoukura, the Mâori Art Programme at Tairâwhiti Polytechnic, exhibit a range of art works in different media including painting, sculpture and weaving. The best student in the graduating class will be awarded the Ruanuku Award at the opening at 5.30pm Friday, 10 December. For the last fifteen years Professor Jack Richards has purchased a work from the Ruanuku Award winner for the museum’s fine arts collection.