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Tainui art collection to stay in Waikato

Tainui art collection to stay in Waikato

6 August 2004

Media Statement
For immediate use

Waikato-Tainui has purchased a collection of sculptures by highly respected Tainui artist Fred Graham.

Fred Graham, 75, who is of Ngati Koroki and Ngati Raukawa has designed or created nearly 40 major commissioned works since his first solo exhibition in Auckland in 1966, and completed dozens more.

He has work displayed at Parliament, the Auckland Domain, court and council buildings, libraries and churches.

The collection comprises 18 contemporary sculptures made mainly of wood and stainless steel.

Fred Graham says the collection tells the story of Tainui and the Kingitanga (Maori King movement) and were completed over a nine month period.

“One followed the other and a story evolved,” he said. “It’s something I have wanted to do for years because I have always been a strong supporter of the Kingitanga.”

Mr Graham said this collection is his way of telling some of the history of the Maori King movement in a way that’s relevant to younger generations.

“As the years go on the young ones ask what’s this? Who was King Tawhiao? What was the King movement about? This is my modern visual way of portraying that.”

Fred Graham says he is extremely happy that the collection is to stay together and stay in the Waikato.

Hemi Rau, Chief Executive of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, said: “the tribe too is delighted to be able to keep this collection in the Tainui rohe” (tribal area).

“We believe these works will come to be regarded as a great taonga for Tainui, but because of Fred’s mana and standing in the art world we feared they could’ve ended up scattered right around the world,” he said.

“The tribe paid $325,000 for the collection, but we believe it could have sold for much more on the open market, Mr Rau said.

The collection will be on permanent loan to the Waikato Museum, but at times may be displayed elsewhere.


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