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

Poverty Bay - taonga maori


A Seventies Selection

16 December – 5 February 2012

Awhiowhio - 
Sandy Adsett

With Snapshot: 1970s Paintings being exhibited in the main gallery it seemed like an appropriate time to exhibit a selection of 1970s artworks from the museum’s fine arts collection. When Jolene Douglas, Exhibition Curator, began searching through the collection it soon became apparent that there are a number of very fine works in the collection dating to this period. These works demonstrate the importance of the fine arts collection as an educational resource for local high schools and the wider community.

During the 1970s there was an active community of artists in Gisborne and a number of them are represented in Jolene’s selection, including Sandy Adsett,  Jean Johnston, Norman Maclean, Alison Pickmere and Penny Ormerod. 

While the museum’s art acquisition programme has always focused primarily on acquiring works by local artists, a small number of works by nationally renowned artists from other regions have been gifted or purchased. Included in this exhibition are works by Phillip Clairmont, John Drawbridge, Stanley Palmer, William Sutton, Kate Coolahan and Robin White.

Le Style Lalique
Vases from the Jack C Richards collection

4 October 2011 - 27 November 2011

                                                                              Antilopes -René Lalique

René Jules Lalique (1860-1945) was a French designer and artist known for his perfume bottles, vases, jewellery, chandeliers, clocks and automobile hood ornaments. Although Lalique was initially recognised for his jewellery designs, by the 1920s he was internationally recognised for his art nouveau works and later art deco glass works.

Professor Jack Richards collected his first Lalique vase in Cairo in the 1970s. When asked why he collects Lalique vases he commented, "I loved the way Lalique could turn an everyday substance (glass) into beautiful jewel-like objects. Each vase is to me, a masterpiece."

Exhibitions Curator Jolene Douglas has selected 20 vases from Professor Richards’ collection to exhibit in the Concourse Gallery. While the exhibition includes two early vases dated 1912 and 1914, most of the vases are from the period 1922 to 1933. This is a rare opportunity to see art nouveau and art deco glass art of the finest quality.

Geoff Tune
Tracing the Seasons: 1968-2011 Retrospective

14 October 2011 - 27 November 2011


Geoff Tune was born in Gisborne in 1947 and attended high school here before attending the Elim School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. Although he has remained in Auckland he has continued to create series of works that acknowledge his strong connections to the East Coast. His work is held in art museum, university and private collections. He was involved in community education before becoming the Founding Head of the Manukau School of Visual Arts at the Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland, in 1993. He has been a full-time artist since 2008.

Tairâwhiti Museum and Art Gallery and PAULNACHE Gallery are collaborating in bringing this retrospective exhibition of Tune’s work to Gisborne. The museum will exhibit works dating from 1968 to 2000 while PAULNACHE Gallery will exhibit works dating from 2000 to the present.


7 October 2011 - 4 December 2011


                                                    The Alphabet - SWYFT

Graffiti is defined as any type of public markings that appear in the form of simple words or elaborate wall paintings. Marking public or private property in this way without the owner’s permission is usually considered defacement and often causes distress. Sometimes graffiti expresses social and political messages. Graffiti has also been recognised as a contemporary art form since the 1960s, worthy of exhibition in public art galleries.

The Graffiti Project in Gisborne was launched in 2010 by Tairawhiti Youth Voice in response to an increasing level of graffiti in Gisborne. The project is being run in conjunction with Gisborne Police, YMCA and Gisborne District Council. Ten young people were selected to participate in this project that enables them to develop their artistic skills and to channel their efforts into work that benefits the community.

We were delighted when these artists approached the museum and art gallery asking us to host an exhibition of their work. This exhibition provides an opportunity for the artists to make their work accessible in a public forum where members of the community can take the time to appreciate their creative endeavour and understand their commitment to their art form.

Paintings by Phyllis Underdown

2 September 2011 - 16 October 2011

Phyllis Underdown was recognised as a Life Member of the Tairâwhiti Museum and Art Gallery in 2009 for her significant contribution to the arts in Gisborne as an artist, teacher and advocate. At the beginning of September an exhibition of her paintings will be hung in the Concourse Gallery. Included in the exhibition is her painting entitled Cornfields (1965) which is one of the treasures of the museum’s collection.

Phyllis was born in Wellington and attended Wellington Technical College of Art. After graduating from the art college she enrolled at Wellington Teachers' College. By 1954 she was in Gisborne beginning to raise a family. As a member of the local art gallery she encountered notable local artists such as Alan Barnes-Graham, Stan Bugden and Gwen Ockenden. She continued to develop her art practice, making the transition from watercolour to oil painting.

Phyllis was appointed Head of the Art Department at Gisborne Girls' High School in 1973. In this position Phyllis was able to devote her time to teaching and to developing her own art practice. In 1976 she attended a print making weekend tutored by Penny Ormerod and became a member of the printmaking group. Phyllis has remained an active member of the Artists Society and continues to exhibit paintings and prints.

Tickle My Senses

12 August 2011 - 9 October 2011

A colour-coded treasure trove inspired by Dr Seuss and Sesame Street, Tickle My Senses is an interactive exhibition of over 40 artworks from The Dowse Art Museum collection. The show encourages visitors to respond to art in ways beyond just looking. By tickling our senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight, visitors will enjoy a range of eclectic artworks in innovative and playful ways.

Concept Developer Leanne Wickham says “The show is a great way to discover how we learn about the world around us and how all our senses – not just sight – help us appreciate and understand art”.

Touch boxes encourage children to feel how materials are different in texture and shape, and smell drawers allow children to explore how smells can remind you of a person, place or time. Beautiful light boxes glow and change colour, and the taste encounter shows how artworks can make your salivate! Visitors can also pick up a phone and listen to soundscapes attached to Don Binney’s Mexico and Barry Brickell’s Animotive I.

Using innovative and playful design elements Tickle My Senses is an exhibition not to be missed by anyone who enjoys a giggle when looking at art. So come and look, listen, touch, taste and smell for a really stimulating art experience.

The Match - David Matches
Portraits of New Zealand Rugby Players

2 September 2011 - 2 October 2011


The Matchwhich opens on September 2, is an exhibition of life-sized portraits of amateur and international rugby players from the NZ Portrait Gallery. The portraits, photographed over 6 years by English photographer David Matches, between 2006 and 2011, capture the essence of New Zealand’s most popular sport. He photographed players as they left the ground, before the effects of the match could evaporate. The photographs express the varying emotions depending on the outcome of the games. He used an old 10x8 bellows camera to take only a single photograph of each player.

NZ Portrait Gallery Director Avenal McKinnon says, "The visual impact of these works is huge, and no matter what the individual viewer’s attitude to rugby, the effect of such raw emotion and great, muscular energy is inescapable. The exhibition is not only a celebration of the legacy of rugby in New Zealand and a tribute to the clubs which are so important in encouraging the next generation of senior players, it is also a bridge between the worlds of art, sport and psychology in the land where rugby is king." It is appropriate that we should have this exhibition celebrating rugby at ‘grass-roots’ level at the time of the Rugby World Cup.

Face Value - Serena Giovanna Stevenson
1 July 2011 -21 August 2011

Expressed through photography and film, Face Value conveys the universal intimacy of Mâori facial moko
through six personal stories. Face Value looks at facial tâ moko in its unique environment – absorbing the
viewers attention but refraining from entering into the history, specific cultural knowledge or politics of moko.
The images  highlight the strength of human-to-human connections and how this deeply personal contact is
essential in the exchange of facial moko. They signify how untiy in the world is impossible if we do not celebrate
who we are and are confined to judging each other by face value alone.

1839 Exchanges - Jason Hall
8 July 2011 -28 August 2011

Since 1998 Jason Hall’s jewellery has been asking questions about what it means to be Pakeha.

1839 Exchanges: Jewellery by Jason Hall is an exhibition about jewellery, identity and cultural exchange. It features a series of amulets created for Frederick Edward Maning, an Irishman who arrived in Aotearoa in 1833 and became a trader. Maning is a well known Pakeha Maori, a term that refers to Europeans who lived as Maori in the early phase of colonisation. Maning, who initially advised Maori not to sign the Treaty of Waitangi, later became a land court judge in the 1860s, and a member of the European colonial gentry.

Most cultures have made amulets, in which part of what is feared (commonly a tooth or claw) is worn to protect the wearer from harm. Hall’s jewellery uses the amulet to talk about the anxieties of being Pakeha.

These are ambiguous objects – it is not always clear who is protected by Hall’s amulets, or what terrors they are intended to fight off.

Damian Skinner, curator

Artists and Pottery Group Annual Exhibition
27 May 2011 - 26 June 2011

                                                       Hymn To Thanatos - Norman Maclean

A feature of the gallery year is the annual show by members of the Artists’ Society who are reminded that there has been a change of dates. Originally, this was scheduled to open in March but the new date is 27th May. So – quite an extension of time to complete that work and get it into Lysnar House by the last receiving day: MAY 13TH.

The long association of artists and potters with the Museum is one that goes back to the formation of both organizations. Local people often do not realise that a small but active society of artists was the driving force behind the establishment of a museum for the district, many decades ago. The rest, as they say, is history!

The Artists’ Society has a thriving membership and the annual show is an excellent opportunity to have work expertly hung in a spacious and well lit area for a month. Selection of works will again be in the hands of Mr Dick Calcott rather than a panel from the Committee. Last year’s show was thoroughly representative of the wide variety of styles and techniques that this district produces and received a very positive response from the public.

Get those works finished; ensure you are a member of both Friends of the Museum and the Artists’ Society and submit! We look forward to seeing them.

Norman Maclean

The Labours of Herakles - Marian Maguire

29 April 2011 - 19 June 2011


                                            Herackles Goes To Gallipoli

Marian Maguire graduated with a major in printmaking from the Ilam School of Fine Art, University of Canterbury, in 1984. Maguire is now recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading printmakers and master printers. In 1996 she established PaperGraphica print studio in Christchurch. She is now widely known for three major suites of prints that explore aspects of New Zealand history. The suites of prints are entitled Mythical Landscapes(2000), The Odyssey of Captain Cook(2005) andThe Labours of Herakles (as a New Zealand Pioneer)(2008). Mythical Landscapessets Greek heroes in the New Zealand landscape and The Odyssey of Captain Cook explores the first encounters of European and Mâori.

The Labours of Herakles (as a New Zealand Pioneer) explores aspects of New Zealand’s pioneer history. Visitors to the exhibition will be intrigued to see the way in which Maguire has included Herakles in familiar images from the colonial period. Herakles, also known as Hercules, is sometimes characterised as the greatest of the Greek heroes. Herakles’ strength and cunning in his engagement with the seemingly impossible Twelve Labours, set for him by King Eurystheus, evoked for Maguire the endeavours of the early colonists.

Marian Maguire will speak at the opening of her exhibition

The Labours of Herakles (as a New Zealand Pioneer) at Tairâwhiti Museum and Art Gallery at 5.30pm Friday 29 April. She is also conducting a seminar for printmakers at the museum at 10am Saturday 30 April.

Professor Elizabeth Rankin, Professor of Art History, Auckland University will give a lecture “Marion Maguire and The Labours of Herakles” at the museum at 5:30pm Wednesday 18 May.


A Story of Quilting A Triptych Journey

11 March 2011 - 17 April 2011

The Gisborne Quilters collective has been meeting monthly for more than 25 years, providing a supportive and creative environment for people who want to learn the basic skills and those experienced quilters who continue to develop their creative talents. Every two years the collective exhibits members’ quilts at Tairâwhiti Museum and Art Gallery. These exhibitions have always been very colourful and drawn large numbers of visitors.

Exhibitors have been asked to create a series of three works; the first of which will use traditional techniques, the second will incorporate the use of new materials, and the third will reflect contemporary design. This year the exhibition will include quilts made by Donna Rowan and Lynn Nunn who live outside the region but who have a long association with the collective. A CD with images of all the works in the exhibition will be available for $10 at the museum during the exhibition.


Tairawhiti Museum: Autumn Lecture Series

Made in New Zealand II: New Zealand Quilting Goes International

Katherine Morrison

Katherine Morrison has been making quilts since 1975, exhibiting widely in group exhibitions in New Zealand, Canada, America and the Netherlands. She has won a number of major awards and her quilts have been acquired for private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Asia and America. Katherine will talk about the Made in New Zealand II an exhibition of work by 45 New Zealand quilters created for the 15th European Patchwork Association Exhibition at Ste Marie-aux-Mines in France in 2009.



Royal Portraits from Government House

18 February 2011 - 29 March 2011



   Queen Elizabeth I- Mather Brown

Legacy, an exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery, consists primarily of royal portraits from the Norrie Collection gifted to New Zealand by Sir Willoughby (Governor General of New Zealand 1952-57) and Lady Norrie in 1957. This exhibition will be one of the highlights of the art gallery exhibition programme in 2011.

The history of the British Kings and Queens was once a core part of the New Zealand school curriculum. Today few adults and even fewer children are able to recite this royal lineage, unless they read historical novels and attend the films that have revived popular interest in Henry VIII, Mary I and Elizabeth I in particular. Their portraits will be a primary focus for visitors to this exhibition. No doubt the portrait of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector during the Commonwealth Period 1653-58, will also attract much attention. Cromwell was responsible for the beheading of King Charles I, whose portrait is also included in the exhibition.

Also included in the exhibition is Sir Nathanial Dance-Holland’s portrait of Captain Charles Clerke, painted in 1776. Clerke sailed as a master’s mate with Cook on the Endeavour on his first Pacific voyage when first contact was made with Maori at Turanganui. The portrait, thought possibly to have been commissioned by Joseph Banks, was later owned by Admiral Isaac Smith, Mrs Elizabeth Cook’s cousin. Both Banks and Smith also sailed with Cook on the Endeavour. This portrait is thought to be the first painting in oils of a Maori and European together.

Avenal McKinnon, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Wellington, will present a floor talk in the Legacy exhibition at 5:30pm on Tuesday 22 March.
This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear about the research that has been done on the provenance of these paintings of the English royal family.


Stepping Out

17 December 2010 - 6 March 2011



Jolene Douglas, the museum’s art curator, has made a selection of recent acquisitions to exhibit in the Concourse Gallery. This selection is only a small proportion of the art works added to the collection in 2009-10. Throughout the history of the museum and art gallery the fine art collection has grown, primarily through gifts made by members of the local community, and this pattern continues. Of the 66 art works added to the collection in 2009-10 44 were gifts, 5 were long term loans and 17 were works purchased by the museum. These new works have been added to the collection in a range of media: paintings (14), ceramics (18), jewellery (13), watercolours (8), prints (5) photography (3), sculpture (3), weaving (1), and glass (1).

The museum and art gallery fine art collection policy focuses on art works created by artists living in or closely associated with Te Tairâwhiti (East Coast) and art works that depict Tairâwhiti people and places. There were a number of significant additions to the painting collection in 2010. The museum purchased an early work by Geoff Tune entitled Poverty Bay Landscape (1968) John Hovell gifted the museum four major works from his East Coast Garden Series painted in the 1970s. Professor Jack Richards gifted Tiki Kauwae by Ruanuku Award winner Bernise Williams. Professor Richards has gifted a painting by the Ruanuku Award Winner at Toihoukura each year for the past fourteen years.

In 2009 the museum began to add contemporary jewellery to the fine arts collection. When Gisborne based art historian Dr Damian Skinner curated the museum’s Tairâwhiti history exhibition Watersheds: Ngâ Waipupû he included contemporary New Zealand jewellery, including works by Areta Wilkinson and Jason Hall. The museum has subsequently purchased other works by contemporary New Zealand jewellers for the fine arts collection. The works that have been collected relate to historical themes or contemporary issues relevant in Tairâwhiti. For example, the brooch by Lynne Kelly included in this exhibition was inspired by her research into the botanical collections made during James Cook’s first visit to New Zealand in 1769, which are now in the collection of the British Museum of Natural History, London. Cook’s first landing in New Zealand on that voyage was in Tairâwhiti. We have a particular interest in this voyage because Cook made his first landing in New Zealand and his first contact with Maori at the Turanganui River mouth (Gisborne).


 Tangata Whenua - The People of the Land
 Artwork by Rongo Tuhura

21 January 2011 - 13 February 2011




‘Rongo Tuhura is one of the most exciting illustrators of Maori concepts I have come across.  His works are pictorial gems carefully thought out and created. They need to be enjoyed as individual pieces.’

- Darcy Nicholas -  General Manager Pataka Museum, Porirua City -


Tangata Whenua Exhibition 2011 – Rongo Tangatake Tuhura

The local people; the hosts; they who are indigenous to the land. Tangata Whenua, literally means the people of the whenua; whenua being the land or placenta; the place where our ancestors were born, where they lived and where their placentas are buried.

Artist Statement

“Growing up as a young Mâori male in rural and in urban New Zealand, the idea of Tangata Whenua started at home. Mâori Culture filled our home in song and dance and in its many diverse art forms and traditions. I see the influence my mother and father had on my elder siblings in many different ways. They were taught how to both live off and respect the land and the sea, and how to care for and replenish their stores. This ensured that the bounty that they provided would be there not only for us right now, but also for the generations to come. They were taught also how to respect one another, and to always respect other people. Indeed, Tangata Whenua for each of us begins in our own back yards, and with some amount of life and living it extends far beyond that.

Tangata Whenua reveals itself in many forms, reaching far across borders and boundaries. It inspires and embraces the mana of all living things; a reciprocating respect extending right on through to the very land, sea and air that sustains us all. It holds great value in the living and the dead, customs and traditions, religions and beliefs. It puts all other things before itself. It’s a respect for all life, past, present and future; an old-world perspective which in these modern times has never been more relevant. I believe we are all connected to each other and to all things. It’s an idea that I’m passionate about, and one that I thought that I would share.

It’s my hope that the Tangata Whenua exhibition will allow people to consider what Tangata Whenua means to them.”

Rongo Tangatake Tuhura was born in Gisborne, New Zealand in 1971, to parents Romeo Tuhura and Charlotte Tibble, each sharing a rich and diverse heritage. Being of Ngati Porou decent, Rongo acknowledges also his Spanish, Scottish, Norwegian, French, and Lebanese blood ties.


In 2008 Rongo emerged a recent graduate of the Te Toi o Nga Rangi Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts program run by esteemed local Maori Visual Arts School Toihoukura, Gisborne. Prior learning in multimedia: visual and graphic design held Rongo in good stead to progress swiftly and successfully through the program. However, like many artists, Rongo’s love and appreciation of art began at a very early age.


Inspired by the masters of the Renaissance era, Rongo was later encouraged to delve into his own culture and heritage where among many things he discovered diverse genealogies about the pantheon of the gods, great leaders of men, and inspiring histories concerning the audacious heroes and heroines of Maoridom.


Guatemalan Textiles
Prof. Jack Richards Collection

11 February 2011 - 20 March 2011



Guatemala is the northernmost country in Central America, with a population of 13.27 million. Human settlement in this area dates from at least 12,000 BC. Mayan culture flourished in Central America, including the highlands of Guatemala, from 250 BC to 900 BC. Some aspects of Mayan culture from this period, including textile designs, have been preserved by Mayan Indians. These customary arts have even survived the dramatic changes that followed the arrival of the Spanish in 1519.

There are over 4 million people living in Mexico and Central America who identify as Mayan. The textiles produced by each Mayan community have their own distinctive patterns, designs and colours. Mayan textiles have been collected by private collectors and museums since the nineteenth century. Today there are textile markets in a number of towns and cities in Guatemala and the sale of textiles is an important part of the economy.


The Guatemalan textiles exhibited in this gallery are from Professor Jack Richards’ private collection. Professor Richards travels regularly to South and Central America to teach and make presentations at conferences. In 2005, he and his friend, Martha Frenkel, built a new school for the Wicho community, an Amerindian community in Argentina.

Professor Richards discovered Guatemalan textiles on his first visit to the old colonial city of Antigua, near Guatemala City, about 20 years ago. The textile market in Antigua sells textiles from all over Guatemala. Professor Richards states: ‘I have purchased things there every time I visit and will doubtless continue to add to the collection on future visits.’