Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 

Maori carving off the coffee table

New book takes study of Maori carving off the coffee table and into the realm of serious art

Embargoed until 18 December

Media release 7 December 2001

New book takes study of Maori carving off the coffee table and into the realm of serious art

Carved Histories: Rotorua Ngati Tarawhai Woodcarving by Roger Neich takes the study of Maori carving out of the realm of coffee table books and into the world of serious art in an international context.

A companion volume to the same author’s very successful Painted Histories, Carved Histories is a chronological account of the leading tradition of Maori woodcarving which explores the subject in depth and with far greater knowledge and sophistication than any earlier work.

The Ngati Tarawhai carvers of the Rotorua district have maintained a continuous distinctive style of carving from pre-European times to the present day. As the most prolific and one of the most influential schools of Maori carvers in New Zealand, they have played a critical role in the whole modern history of the development and survival of Maori carving. With the establishment of the government-sponsored Rotorua School of Maori Art in 1928, it was a Ngati Tarawhai carver, Eramiha Kapua, who became the main tutor and helped his traditional tribal art to make the transition into a modern ‘national’ art.

Beginning with Ngati Tarawhai life around Lake Okataina, this study looks at the context of production of all known carvings by Ngati Tarawhai, both in New Zealand and overseas, and explores the relationships between the carvers and their Maori patrons. After the end of the New Zealand wars, Ngati Tarawhai carvers were responsible for some of the most famous meeting houses in the Rotorua and wider Bay of Plenty district, often working with Ngati Pikiao carvers during the 1870s and 1880s.

With the advent of European patronage towards the end of the nineteenth-century European concepts of art were imposed on these carvers causing changes in the form of the carving and making the carvers conscious of their work as “Art” in the European sense. This self-consciousness reached its highest level in the production of “tourist art” when these carvers manufactured modified traditional and innovative items that signalled “Maori ART” to their European clients.

Carved Histories will be presented to Ngati Tarawhai and launched at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on 18 December, at a function co-hosted by Auckland University Press and the Museum. About the author A distinguished anthropologist specialising in Maori art, Dr Roger Neich BSc, MA, PhD, was born in Petone, Wellington, New Zealand in 1944. He has many fond memories of childhood vacations in the Rotorua area of New Zealand, where the tribal carvers studied so closely in his latest book, Carved Histories, were based.

As well as prodigious activity in researching and writing, he currently divides his time between two formal roles – Curator of Ethnology at the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Auckland.

Dr Neich has carried out fieldwork in the Pacific, notably in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and New Zealand. He was the Ethnologist at the National Museum, of New Zealand 1969–1986. He has been curator of Ethnology at the Auckland since 1986 and was awarded a personal chair in Anthropology at the University of Auckland in 2001.

In 1980–1982 he undertook research at the University of California, Berkeley after being awarded a National Research Advisory Council Postgraduate Research Fellowship.

He was co-curator of the Maori exhibition at the British Museum, London, in 1996, and is co-curator of the proposed Maori exhibition in Rome using the Italian collections.

Hardback, maps, colour and b&w illustrations, genealogies, ISBN 1 86940 257 X, $89.95

– ENDS –

Notes 1. To arrange an interview with Roger Neich, please contact Christine O’ Brien, Auckland University Press, or contact Roger Neich directly on (09) 309-0443 (Mon–Wed) or (09) 3737599 (Thurs–Fri). 2. Illustrations can be made available electronically.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'


The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland