Posted: 03/05/16

An intrinsic part of the Hundertwasser Art Centre.

Local WMAG Board member Dr Benjamin Pittman is working tirelessly with the HAC Project group. Painting is by Emily Karaka, entitled He KãKano Ahau, 2016



From its very inception, the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery was seen as a vehicle to enrich mutual understanding between Māori and Pakeha through the medium of Fine Art.

This was Hundertwasser’s vision and gift to Māori, a people for which he held a deep and abiding respect. He shared their holistic connection to the natural environment and its preservation.

The koru symbol, so important to Māori, had also been a symbol integral to Hundertwasser’s art well before he arrived in Aotearoa. When Hundertwasser became a NZ citizen in 1983, his koru flag design was gifted to NZ to mark his rite of passage.

The name Wairau has been chosen because it means 100 waters in Te Reo just as Hundertwasser means 100 waters in German.

The Wairau Māori Art Gallery will be the world’s first gallery dedicated solely to Contemporary Māori Art. It is the most exciting project for the permanent promotion of Contemporary Māori Art in our history. Māori artists in their mid to late careers who have achieved national and international recognition will exhibit in this ground breaking venue.

Artworks will come from the country’s leading collections including Te Papa, Auckland City Art Gallery, Whangarei Art Museum as well as artist’s and private collections. It is planned that exhibitions will rotate on a lively 3 monthly schedule.

The Wairau Māori Art Gallery will be situated on the ground floor of the Art Centre and will be the first gallery visitors enter when they tour the building. Nearby there will also be a purpose built theatre to show digital artwork. The HAC’s Learning Centre will provide further background and learning about the Wairau Māori Art Gallery exhibition programme to schools and academics.

The Wairau Māori Art Gallery Board will work in partnership with the Whangarei Art Museum to curate exhibitions. This board comprises top Māori artists, Kaumatua and Kuia, scholars and experts. Chairman of the Board, Elizabeth Ellis, has written, “Māori artists of the highest standing, recognised by their peers in national and international forums, will exhibit their work. Imagine how exciting it will be to know that there is one place in Aotearoa New Zealand where Māori artwork will always, permanently be able to be seen by the people of Te Taitokerau, of Aotearoa and the world beyond”.




Shane Cotton ONZM (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha)

Elizabeth Ellis CNZM (Ngāpuhi Ngāti Kuta, Ngāti Porou) WMAGM Chair

Elizabeth Hauraki (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou)

Te Warahi Hetaraka (Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi, Tainui)

Dr Patu Hohepa (Ngāpuhi, Te Mahurehure) WMAGB Kaumatua

Ngahiraka Mason (Tuhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pango)

Taipari Munro (Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Taka, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Korora, Te Waiarika, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Te Tawera)

Dr Benjamin Pittman (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hao, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Hau)

Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngai Tu)

Allen Wihongi MNZOM (Ngāpuhi, Te Uri o Hua)

Taonga Tuku Iho

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (Ngāpuhi, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kuri)

Manos Nathan (Te Roroa, Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi)