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Huakina He taonga mai i Te Papa – Unpacked Treasures

10 December 2013

Huakina He taonga mai i Te Papa – Unpacked Treasures from Te Papa

A powerful painting depicting a pivotal moment in Northland’s history will take pride of place in a new drive to give the region’s residents greater access to treasures from Te Papa.

A space at Whangarei Art Museum dedicated to showcasing key pieces from the national collection launches on 12 December 2013.

Te Papa and the Whangarei Art Museum worked together on the rotating program of art, which will feature a different work in the space every three months. The first to take centre stage is The Blowing Up of the Boyd (1889) by Louis John Steele and Kennett Watkins.

The director of the Whangarei Art Museum, Scott Pothan, says “This provides Northlanders with an unprecedented opportunity to see major works from the national collection right here in Te Tai Tokerau.”

Te Papa’s Associate Director of Living Cultures, Tracy Puklowski, says “it’s all part of Te Papa’s commitment to make its treasures accessible to more people in more places.”

Members of Ngāti Pou attacked the Boyd in 1809 on Whangaroa Harbour, after a chief from the iwi was wrongly accused of theft and flogged onboard the ship. About seventy people died in the attack and the Boyd was accidentally destroyed when the gunpowder it was carrying ignited.

Te Papa’s Curator Historical New Zealand Art, Rebecca Rice, says “The painting is doubly powerful. It is an impressive work of art, but it also reflects the complex nature of early Māori-Pakeha relations.”

She says other paintings that will feature in the space over the next few months are broader in scope, but are also highlights of the national art collection.

“Rita Angus’s painting Fay and Jane Birkinshaw (1938) is a striking work of international significance, and Rozzie at Pisa (1978) is by Grahame Sydney, a modern artist whose work spans more than four decades.”

Edward Poynter’s painting Asterié (1904), a beautiful portrait made by one of the most successful Victorian artists of his day, will also have a turn featuring in the space.

ENDS

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