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Iti's wishes granted


Nick Smith National MP

7 September 2000

Iti's wishes granted

National MP and former Conservation Minister Nick Smith is astounded that Tame Iti's request to have his artwork displayed and sold by the Department of Conservation has been granted.

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee was questioned about the display of artwork at the Urewera National Park visitor centre in Parliament today.

"Documents released under the Official Information Act show that the Minister and her Department have been bending over backwards to accommodate Tame Iti's demands," Dr Smith said.

Tame Iti was approached by the Department as the person who 'provided assistance in the early stages' of the visitor centre gallery to either display his own work or nominate an artist for the first display. The Department will sell the displayed works on behalf of the artist for a 10% commission.

"It is quite clear from the documents that Mr Iti has been running the show. He was given the option of displaying his own work or dictating whose work should be displayed, and the Department will act as an agent selling the work for a 10% commission.

"Ms Lee is the genie to Mr Iti. He has made his three wishes - his road fixed, his own campsites and his artwork sold by the Department. How many more will he get?

"Mr Iti is on record saying that the McCahon painting was 'hostage to get those things done that we want'. It is outrageous that he gets special treatment by the Government when other law-abiding New Zealanders are ignored," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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