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 Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori



 Ruanuku - Annual Award Exhibition

  21 November 2014  - 1 February 2015

    Walter Dewes

In 1995 under a policy initiated by the Tairāwhiti museum, the Ruanuku (a person who is developing skills) Award was launched. This award was in recognition of the excellence of a final year student at Toihoukura, the School of Māori Arts and design at the Eastern Institute of Technology as selected by the tutors. Under this award the museum would be invited to select and purchase an art work by that student to be added to the museum’s fine arts collection of Ruanuku works.

Moving into the summer of 1997, Professor Jack C Richards expressed an interest (after viewing an exhibition at the museum) offering ongoing sponsorships for students attending Toihoukura as he was so impressed with the calibre of the works. Following amicable negotiations between Professor Richards and the museum, funding responsibility of the Ruanuku Award passed into his hands where it remains and flourishes to the present day.

This year 2014 celebrates nineteen years of that long term commitment of Professor Richards and the Tairāwhiti Museum in supporting the development of the historical collection of contemporary Māori art by students which now includes paintings, mixed media, ceramics and weaving.

Preview 5.30pm Friday


  14 November 2014  - 14 December 2014

Time travel through the fine arts collection
* Back by popular demand *


                                 Table With Objects - Philip Clairmont

This is the second time around for this exhibition previously shown at the grand opening of the museum’s new wing. Curated, and then hung for a period of three days, quoted as being the shortest duration of an exhibition. If you missed it the first time you now have the opportunity to admire these visual narratives by some of the most important and iconic artists of the New Zealand art scape.

Featuring in this exhibition and making a rare outing will be the 1967 minimal landscape by Colin McCahon from his well known North Otago Series purchased in 1972 from the Barry Lett gallery in Auckland. Sitting literally, alongside the recently acquired East Coast Retreat by local painter Brian Campbell is the explosive 1976 Table with Objects by renowned Philip Clairmont.

Eclectic imagery, some works will be as familiar as old friends and others are yet to make your acquaintance.

‘My love examines
things like a camera clicking.
My love does not miss much.
My love paints............’
-Science of feeling by Hone Tuwhare


 Artists'  Society & Pottery Group 

  26 September 2014  - 16 November 2014

After two years in limbo while the museum extensions blossomed and finally opened in the grand manner expected, the Gisborne Artists' Society & Gisborne Pottery Group are once more gearing up to put their annual show back on the museum’s exhibition programme.

The Gisborne Art Society has an illustrious history. Established in 1948 as a branch of the Hawke’s Bay and East Coast Art Society, it became an independent group in 1954. As well as organising regular exhibitions and fostering the growth of art in the Tairāwhiti region, the art society was responsible for setting up the museum and art gallery in Gisborne, purchasing the old Lysnar house on Kelvin Rise for that purpose and then gifting this to the city of Gisborne. Many of the great treasures in the Tairāwhiti Museum collection, including paintings by Colin McCahon and William Sutton, were purchased by the art society for the permanent collection.

 The Transmogrifier Machine -Katy Wallace

  18 OCtober 2014  - 7 December 2014

       Someone Else's Chair

The Transmogrifier Machine is on tour.
Katy Wallace the Transmogrifier reconfigures unclaimed furniture items into unique pieces that celebrate use, character, and humaness.

You might know some of the characters in this show from their previous lives, picked up from the side of the road, from Barwicks, or the Salvation Army. Were these once your things? These objects have moved from the opshop to the gallery floor, bringing a history, and an evolution which takes them into the realm of the extraordinary.

Katy Wallace has been running the Transmogrifier Machine since its inception in 2009 from her studio and workshop in Gisborne, New Zealand.

She has been designing furniture for over 20 years. In this time she has been involved in commercial furniture development and production, contract design, and more recently handmade one-off design. Katy has taught design at both Unitec and AUT University, and has been involved in numerous boards and advisory positions within the design community.

Preview 5.30pm Friday 17 October

Uku Rere:Ngā Kaihanga Uku and Beyond

  22 August 2014  - 9 November 2014

This exhibition showcases the work of Baye Riddell, Manos Nathan, Colleen Urlich, Wi Taepa and Paerau Corneal all preeminent members of Ngā Kaihanga Uku: an organisation of Māori clay workers formed in 1986.

Uku Rere Ngā Kaihanga Uku and beyond tracks the strength and creative progress of Māori ceramic art in New Zealand’s contemporary art scene over twenty five years.

Local star Baye Riddell has a long and rigorous career in the world of clay, blazing trails promoting indigenous ceramic practices at a national and international level, his work embraces both Māori and Christian beliefs.

Colleen Waata-Urlich work is underpinned by her Masters research into the Lapita clay culture. Paerau Corneal’s artistry portrays Māori women as strong, and enduring. She uses hand-building techniques to create her figurative forms and vessels.

Manos Nathan’s unique sculptural works draw on customary art forms and on the Māori cosmological and creation narratives. Wi Taepa produces chunky, rugged pots full of personality and enjoys the unpredictable way the colours of clay emerge naturally during firing.

All five artists have engaged in significant cultural exchanges with international indigenous artists working in clay - an experience that has enriched their work. This major touring exhibition of unique, hand-built ceramic artworks was developed and toured by Pataka Art+Museum in partnership with Toi Māori Aotearoa and sourced from public and private collections throughout New Zealand.

 Catching The Edge - Margeret Hansen

 15 August 2014 - 12 October 2014

Have you watched a southerly front suck blue from the sea? Or considered the exact colours informing any simple sky? Have you traced paths of water on the beach making their way home? Those unique, calligraphic rills are the kinds of conditions that inspire Margaret Hansen to capture intuitive images inhabiting the world between impression and concept, playing at the edges of light and land. This work is described as atmospheric, exploring shifting light and tide, licks of wind on water.

Margaret paints from her studio at Makorori Beach - the edge of a reef at the end of a beach at the beginning of the day. She plays with ambiguous and multiple horizons and perceptions. She exploits colour with a subtle or restricted palette. Depth is often achieved with fine layering or unseen background metallics.

Featured works range in size. One series of tiny paintings ‘Ways to Water, catches those trickling paths to the sea. Another, entitled ‘Bobby’s Birthday’ captures a rare burst of light seen only once. Many of these paintings carry stories.

“With this exhibition I want to say, ‘See that? Look now! It’s gone.’”


Victory Medal -Helen Pollock

  25 July 2014  - 21 September 2014

"The sculptural work ‘Victory Medal’ is a memorial to the grievous losses of World War1 and a reflection on the idea of ‘victory’ in war.

A platoon of larger than life size pairs of feet are positioned ‘standing to’ and aligned like crosses in a military cemetery, facing east as with tradition and mounted on a rusted steel ‘medal’. One pair of feet is cast in bronze, and is positioned within this configuration seemly randomly.

The feet are bare and vulnerable, and stripped of difference or individuality. The ceramic feet are moulded from rough processed clay, suggesting conformity and disposability. The bronze feet in contrast are enduring and ritualistic.

‘Victory Medal’ makes comment on the magnitude and never fully determined impact of that war on the culture and psyche of subsequent generations of New Zealanders." - Helen Pollock


Te Ahikāroa - Home Fires Burning

  11 July 2014  - 17 August 2014

Headlands Tikapa Marae Pokai Mahau, 2010

Te Ahikāroa - Home Fires Burning  merges photographs from two series created over the past 4 years. From the Mouth of the Port to the Beak of the River (2014) are landscapes that include fishing and kaimoana gathering activities on the south side of the Waiapu River. Also included is a selection of East Coast images from the series The Headlands Await Your Coming (2010-2013).

In Te Ao Maori, ahikā is a cornerstone principle of land rights. In an era during which urban drift and migration abroad depopulates small rural communities, the people who remain on tribal land continue the values of a centuries-old practice called ahikāroa, literally the long burning fires of occupation, a deliberate political maintenance of land title claims to ensure rights are not extinguished. Others return seasonally or when occasions call, to contribute to keeping marae ‘warm’ through usage. This body of work approaches marae (communal and sacred place that serves cultural and social purposes) and surrounding tribal lands as a lived space in which intergenerational use keeps the fires burning. The people who figure within the frame are of this time, but the practices of maintaining ahikā are longstanding. New and often provisional approaches to establish and maintain occupancy emerge along with formulations of sovereignty and resistance, not always visible.

Along the East Cape coastline, camps spring up for the summer months as people return to the shores to reconnect with customary fishing and kaimoana gathering places. Omaewa, just north of Port Awanui, is family land belonging to artist Natalie Robertson, a member of Te Whānau ā Hineauta, Te Whānau ā Pokai. Her grandfather David Hughes (son of Mabel Boyd and Charlie Hughes, storekeepers at Port Awanui) was amongst the last generation to live here permanently, a century ago. The famed Jose Manuel olive tree on the banks of the Waiotautu Stream is near where the store was. The track to the Port is now 4WD access only, with the only other way in, along the beach at low tide. Each year, Natalie returns to the whānau land at Omaewa, to strengthen her ties to the whenua. This frequent returning has also rebuilt old family connections and relationships and deepened her knowledge of place. With this knowledge has come an understanding that the deforestation of the past century and a half has led to dramatic changes to the Waiapu River, the scale of the beaches and the coastal ecosystems. Images of fishing create a record of tribal usage today with the understanding that the silt from the Waiapu is having devastating consequences for kaimoana along Tikapa Beach. The threats to the ecology of traditional food sources and sacred sites through global warming, rising sea levels, post-Fukushima radiation, pollution, deep-sea oil drilling, over-fishing in addition to policies that continue to erode access rights, all underline the need for our own stories and narratives to seen as well as heard. 

 All Woman - Bev Short 

  20 June 2014 - 10 August 2014

Self-taught Wellington-based photographer Bev Short grew up in the south of England, in Edinburgh. As soon as she was old enough she acquired her own camera and began photographing and developing her skills. She immigrated to New Zealand in 2002.

All Woman: A Modern Portrait of New Zealand Women was iinitially conceived as a book, the original idea was to photograph the subjects twice — one image showing their public life, the other their private life. This exhibition expands on that theme exploring in depth the story behind each women and each image. Short spent three years travelling across New Zealand encapsulating the essence of women whom she felt most compelling and inspirational high achievers.

“The women I met really opened up to me about their lives which I was so grateful to them for. I admired their spirit and energy and I wanted to celebrate that, but also to share their stories and images with a wider public. Through All Woman I finally found my calling and my ‘voice’ in my art. I know the way I want to photograph and how to go about it.”

SOME of the faces are instantly recognizable such as the Topp twins, former Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast, poet Dame Fiona Kidman and comedian Michele A’Court some aren’t – but all the women featured have a unique story to tell.

Toured by New Zealand Portrait gallery: Te Pukenga Whakaata




30 May 2014 - 20 July 2014

"This exhibition is essentially a retrospective....... A quiet celebration of the past 10 years living in the Tairāwhiti after gravitating back from teaching and exhibiting in Wellington/Christchurch.

It is a visual narrative dealing with; the moods of the ocean and its ever changing relationship with the coastline. The gestural dignity of native plant forms, the ebb and flow of tidal kelp with an emphasis on linear presentation. These themes permeate through the larger works on canvas and board respectively.

The show also features a series of drawings taking a nostalgically light-hearted look at the history of class photographs. An egalitarian commonalty exists through the groups and arrangements of individuals with settings. The juxtaposition of character, costume and persona has been a delight to develop. Baby boomers’ in particular should be able to relate to these studies.

The 3-dimensional pieces (heavy pets) evolved from ‘throwaway’ sketches that somehow morphed into more meaningful entities, via a fertile imagination.

The pulse of this exhibition has been ten years in the making." -Daryl File


 Sounds Amazing

23 May 2014 - 6 July 2014


Make some noise with Sounds Amazing!

Did you know that about 100 muscles must all work together so we can say this one sentence?

Sounds Amazing – Discover the Science of Sound - engages hands, eyes and ears. How musicians get notes from string, wind or percussion instruments is revealed by strumming giant harps, striking gamelans, playing slap-a-phone (bongo pipes), or tickling the ivories of a giant keyboard.

The exhibition is highly engaging for children and enables them to explore concepts relating to the science of sound including sound production and how sound travels.

Uncover more fascinating facts about sound, the science behind making it, and have a go at playing some unconventional instruments.


 Herenga Pūmau – a walk down memory lane

  17 April 2014 - 15 June 2014

The Wiremu Kerekere Whānau Trust shares in celebration a collection of heart-warming photographs, images and memorabilia from the albums of their Father, Poua, Wiremu Peka Kingi Kerekere, more widely known as Bill Kerekere.

‘Herenga Pūmau – a walk down memory lane’ highlights the close bonds and relationships that developed and blossomed between whānau, friends and colleagues over the many decades. These relationships are still dearly cherished.

“The exhibition merely shows a glimpse of the photographs and images Poua had collected. While in the process of selecting the images, we only scraped the surface of what was stored”, says Trustee Tai Kerekere.

“Evoking emotions of laughter, tears and joy, the images are so precious, that we felt an exhibition would be a wonderful opportunity to be able to share these captured moments with everyone”.


 Titokowaru’s Dilemma
 Marian Maguire

  11 April 2014 - 25 May 2014


Curio from the Colonial Era: Artisan unknown. Dated 1860-1880. Taranaki origin' lithograph, 2011.

Marian Maguire has produced lithographic prints and etchings over the last decade using the visual language of Ancient Greek vase painting to examine New Zealand history – in particular narratives concerning early European contact and ‘colonisation’ of nineteenth century New Zealand.

Titokowaru’s Dilemma follows the actions and thoughts of Titokuwaru, a charismatic leader who was involved in the Taranaki Land Wars of the 1860s and later, in the passive resistance movement at Parihaka.

This new series involves many layers of careful historical research, psychology, philosophy and Marian’s beautiful rendering and re-use of many iconic New Zealand paintings, carvings and sculpture. The Taranaki landscape is also an important player in these scenes as, indeed, is the whole issue of land and land confiscation.

 14 February 2014 - 13 April 2014

Meet the artist -Norm Heke will talk about the exhibition Wednesday 19 February read more.... 

Norm Heke, digital artist/photographer re-engages audiences with fundamental stories that underpin Māori cultural society through past and present depictions of ngā atua (gods). Pivotal characters in Māori whakapapa (geneology) are highlighted starting from the very beginning of time through to the discovery of Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

I wanted to give Māori gods a renewed presence in contemporary culture by modernising the characters and contextualising the stories, in order for them to remain alive and vibrant in our society. I chose Photorealism as the medium to build each of the atua a stage as grand as any of the Greek Gods.
These are our indigenous super heroes and they deserve to be celebrated. Norm Heke. 

Each work consists of a multitude of collected photographed textures and location shots procured from numerous travels and holidays around the country over the years. Each depiction is carefully interwoven to construct scenes derived from Norm's imagination, all posing their own unique challenge to develop. Norm's love of the natural environment, Māori cultural traditions and attention to detail are evident.

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