Here are some picks of recent contemporary Māori art books — we hope you enjoy them. Included are a book of essays in memory of respected academic and curator Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, as well as books to accompany Lisa Reihana’s work representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale. Plus, an introduction to the art of whaikōrero (oratory), and a beautiful tribute to the life achievements of Dame Rangimarie Hetet (1892 – 1995) and her daughter Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa (1920 – 2009), who were both tohunga of mahi raranga whatu (traditional Maori weaving experts).
Colonial Gothic to Māori renaissance : essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki / edited by Conal McCarthy & Mark Stocker.
“Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014) was a much loved and respected academic and curator of broad and varied interests, who made an immense contribution to New Zealand art history over almost half a century. His scholarship was matched by a terrific generosity of spirit and personal charisma. Colonial Gothic to Māori Renaissance is a remarkable tribute to his memory from friends, colleagues and former students alike. Its contents are as varied and interesting as the man himself: Victorian church architecture and liturgy, mysticism, the New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906, the Toi Te Papa exhibition of 2006, traditional and contemporary Māori art, and the artists Thomas Benjamin Kennington, Gottfried Lindauer, Colin McCahon, Tony Fomison, Philip Clairmont and Emily Karaka are all included here. Beautifully illustrated and scholarly yet readable, this book is a powerful testament to the inspiration of a remarkable person.” (Description from Victoria University Press)
(See also our post Remembering Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, for information about the memorial project by NZ artist Shannon Novak, who installed a small artwork in 10 locations around Wellington that Jonathan frequented and supported — including the Central Library.)
Māori art : history, architecture, landscape and theory / Rangihiroa Panoho ; with photographs by Mark Adams & Haruhiko Sameshima.
“Up until now books on Maori art have described the work as either traditional (carving, weaving, painting) or contemporary, work produced post-1950s. This book presents a unique focus on Maori art by exploring the connection between the traditional and contemporary, and the place of Maori art within an international context. Maori Art provides a framework for looking at Maori art in a new way and fills a gap in Maori art history – while there are myriad surveys of Maori art there is currently very little critical writing on Maori art and artists. The book is extensively illustrated with over 400 art works, landscapes and meeting houses, many never published before, including 100 specially commissioned photographs from renowned New Zealand photographers Mark Adams and Haruhiko Sameshima.” (Syndetics summary)
Lisa Reihana: emissaries / Lisa Reihana.
“Lisa Reihana: Emissaries is a beautifully designed and exquisitely illustrated examination of one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most ambitious artworks, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], for its presentation at the 57th Venice Biennale. Comprising seven essays by leading scholars and curators, a lively conversational exchange, and insights into the career of Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngātihine, Ngāi Tu), the book provides a captivating account of the sources that influenced the artist’s expansive creative endeavour and how the Venice exhibition might be understood within the context of transnational indigenous art making.” (Auckland Art Gallery description)
In pursuit of Venus / Lisa Reihana.
“Discover the histories and processes that led to the realisation of Lisa Reihana’s celebrated work in this exquisitely designed and illustrated book. Includes ten essays and a comprehensive interview with Reihana alongside two beautiful plate sections which highlight key scenes and characters from within this seminal work.” (Auckland Art Gallery description)
(You can also watch videos and can learn all about Lisa’s practice, motivation, and inspiration over at Te Papa’s pages dedicated to celebrating Lisa Reihana’s work at the Venice Biennale)
Whaikorero, Poia Rewi (eBook)
“Anyone who has been welcomed on to a marae in New Zealand will understand that whaikorero – oratory – is at the heart of Maori culture. Whaikorero: The World of Maori Oratory is the first introduction to this fundamental Maori art to be widely published. It is based on broad research as well as oral histories from 30 of the leading exponents of whaikorero, many of whom have subsequently died. Author Poia Rewi’s informants are affiliated to many iwi including Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Arawa, Ngati Porou, Ngati Awa, Waikato-Maniapoto, Te Whakatohea, Nga Puhi and Ngati Whare. In Whaikorero, Poia Rewi assesses the origin and history of whaikorero; its structure, language and style of delivery; who may speak; and where speech happens. Featuring a range of sample whaikorero drawn from both oral and literary sources, the book provides examples of language for learners of Maori wishing to improve their whaikorero skills as well as being a major resource for all readers interested in Maori culture.”(Overdrive description)
E ngā uri whakatupu : weaving legacies : Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa / authors, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Kahutoi Mere Te Kanawa, Rangituatahi Te Kanawa, Barbara Pareatai Moke.
“E Nga Uri Whakatupu is a beautiful tribute to the life achievements of Dame Rangimarie Hetet (1892 – 1995) and her daughter Diggeress Te Rangituatahi Te Kanawa (1920 – 2009), who were both tohunga of mahi raranga whatu (traditional Maori weaving experts). These women, of Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Kinohaku descent, are acknowledged as New Zealand’s finest traditional Maori weavers. Their generosity of spirit and passion for the revival of Maori women’s arts gave new life to traditional Maori weaving and still inspire generations of the present. The Hetet and Te Kanawa collections comprise more than 75 individual pieces and represent the unbroken weaving traditions of one whanau that spans five generations, or over 150 years. It is the largest private collection of Maori traditional weaving from one family in the world.” (Publisher description)