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Care for the Land, Care for the People

This piece is talking about the tourism trade here in New Zealand and how vital it is to our economy and of course, the integral part it plays as a driving force to ‘keep New Zealand Green!’ This is what people travel to New Zealand to see…it is now called eco-tourism and has taken off all over the world as people want to go to a place which is stunning in its natural and raw beauty. They want to be able to be a part of that and learn about the geological history of the land and also about what it takes to keep it as clean and clear of human pollution as possible. Local and international tourists want to see New Zealand pristine.

What we have here is a treasure which needs caring for. To have a healthy Nation we must have a healthy land. Papatuanuku is our Earth Mother who nurtures us, we must respect and care for her in turn.

The letters across the landscape are some of the elements which are mined in NZ and also some poisons which are seeping into nature because of mining.

Coat of Arms: Based on the New Zealand coat of arms but with a focus on our environment.

Kowhaiwhai (scroll design): Ngaru – meaning, the cutting of the waves as a waka (canoe) travels through them. This is here (and painted in blue) to represent the waterways of New Zealand.

Translation:  ‘Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere Whakamua.’

Care for the Land, Care for the people, Go Forward.’

Flag:  If you look closely you can see a kowhaiwhai design behind the flag. This design I created to represent the mountains of New Zealand.

French Fantail

Pompallier 1842

This was a French factory built in colonial New Zealand for the manufacture of books for the Catholic Mission.  It is New Zealands oldest Catholic building, and its oldest industrial building.

In 1838 Bishop Jean Baptiste Francois Pompallier a priest and a brother of the Society of Mary landed in the Hokianga. There was already an Anglican Church Missionary Society and Wesleyan missionaries established in the area of whom believed that the Maori should of course be Protestant. James Busby the British resident at the time was also concerned as the potential of a French invasion was now clear.

Once reinforced by more French Marists, the Bishop was able to found headquarters at Kororareka. Various buildings were added including a chapel and outbuildings housing Maori visitors.  A Gaveaux printing press arrived and so a printery was built to produce religious texts in Maori. The building was now New Zealands first factory. Among other things, they produced 6000 copies of the 648 page Ko Te Ako me te Karakia o Te Hahi Katorika Romana (The teachings and prayers of the Roman Catholic Church).

English Pigeon

The map used here is based on Cook’s first map of New Zealand.

James Cook was born: October 27th 1728

Cook’s Quotes

“Before we left this Bay, we cut out upon one of the trees near the watering place, the Ships Name, date &ca and after displaying the English Colours I took formal possession of the place in the name of His Majesty.”

(Mercury Bay)

Cook encounters the natives:

“all stout well made men, having all of them their hair which was black Comb’d up and tied upon the Crown of their heads and there stuck with white feathers” In each of the canoes were several Chiefs dressed in cloaks “of the best sort and cover’d on the outside with Dog skins put on in such a manner as to look agreeable enough to the eye”

On Saturday, 13 January 1770 Cook wrote: “At 5 AM saw for a few Minutes the Top of the peaked Mountain above the Clowds, bearing NE; it is of a prodigious height and its top is covered with everlasting snow”.

‘Mt Egmont’


A New Aotearoa Ensign

Flags: In this work I have chosen to combine design elements from both the British and Maori cultures on the flags/ensigns. This piece talks about the arrival of both peoples to Aotearoa and the integration of the different cultures.

The top flag is based on the traditional New Zealand Ensign made official in 1902. The second is the flag which was chosen by the ‘United tribes of New Zealand’ a collective of Northern Maori Chiefs who were offered 3 designs to choose from. This was the first New Zealand flag. The original had 8 pointed stars and black edging but was altered in 1835 to the one shown on the painting. I have added the carving designs on the red as a way to incorporate a traditional Maori design element.

New Aotearoa: The word Aotearoa has been broken in to two parts creating ‘New Ao’ which means ‘New World’ meaning the beginning of a Nation. The beginning of a new consciousness and new belief systems.


The Coming of the Maori

This work was inspired by the book ‘The Coming of the Maori’ By Te Rangi Hiroa/Sir Peter Buck.

The Map: Based on Cook’s Map

Kowhaiwhai: Based on ‘Koiri’ from the Tai Rawhiti area. The design means to flourish. I used this Kowhaiwhai to represent the Polynesian/Maori people’s adjustments to their new environment in Aotearoa.

The Flying Moa Bones: Represents two things, 1st the fascinating mythology that came with the Maori but also was added to and created here in Aotearoa. 2nd the loss of the giant moa and how the earliest cultures in Aotearoa were still hunters and gatherers.

The Star Compass: This compass is believed to represent the celestial navigation method used by the Polynesians to traverse the enormous expanse that is the Pacific Ocean.

Handwritten script: This is part of the creation story, the progression from darkness to light as told by Te Ahukaramu, a 19th century Ngati Raukawa chief.

The Waka list:  is that of the earliest settlers to Aotearoa, which includes the name of each waka along with the approximate date of arrival the commander and area landed.

King Dick


This work was inspired by my time as a Wellington city tour guide. During my tours I would drive past the Wellington or Newtown zoo and talk about the lion ‘King Dick’ who was gifted to the city of Wellington by Bostock & Wombwells travelling menagerie in 1906. The lion was then named after our Prime Minister at the time, Richard Seddon.

Later in my tour I would stop off at Parliament and discuss the buildings, history, culture and statues.  It was this obvious connection between our Prime Minister and the lion along with Parliament which can sometimes be related to as a circus ring.


The Beehive: A curious looking structure that would do nicely as a lions performing platform.

The Lancashire Leo: Seddon was born in Lancashire and had a thick accent throughout his life.

New Zealand Flag: Represented by the 4 red stars on blue and the Union Jack sitting behind the image of New Zealand.

New Zealand in gold: Representing the gold rush in which brought Seddon to our fine shores.

Old age pensioners: Established during Seddon’s ‘reign’




A Tribute:

To George Nepia & the Invincibles…

In September 1924 a New Zealand Rugby team departed for the northern hemisphere.   ‘The Invincibles’ played 32 matches in total, including games against England, Ireland, Wales and France, winning every single match!!

Note: I’d also like to mention here the tradition of ‘Rugby Football Souvenirs’. The souvenir/programmes represent not only the teams, countries and advertising/promotions of the time but also the art & design preferences which inspired the concepts and design of this artwork.



George Nepia


‘All Blacks – England, Wales, Ireland – 654 against 98 – Not beaten 1924-25’

This is what was written on the gold medal which was presented to each of the Invincibles by Sir Arthur Myers. The gold detailing beneath the ball is based on the design of the setting which held the medal.

Kowhaiwhai (scroll design):

The inspiration for this Kowhaiwhai comes from Mangotipi, a traditional Maori design representing the hammer head shark representing formidable strength and resilience.

Fern leaf:

This design is based on the fern which was embroidered on the Invincibles jerseys for the 1924 tour.



The Originals

A Tribute:

To the Originals

The Original All Blacks (known as “The Originals”) were the first national rugby union team to represent New Zealand and tour outside Australasia. They toured the British Isles, France and the USA during 1905–1906.

This tour of Britain went on to achieve legendary status within the rugby world. The Originals scored 976 points and conceded only 59, thus setting the standard for any and all New Zealand teams who were to follow.

It was during this tour that the name ‘All Blacks’ was created. The uniform colour was by this time entirely black and so the name was deemed worthy and eventually stuck.

(The original New Zealand colours were Navy blue with a gold fern)



David Gallaher

Kowhaiwhai (scroll design):

The inspiration for this Kowhaiwhai comes from Mangotipi, a traditional Maori design representing the hammer head shark. This design represents formidable strength and resilience.

Tour Facts:

The single game lost was against Wales.



The Dawn Maiden

When Hine-Nui-Te-Po was a young lady, before the darkness of her tale, there was the ‘flashing dawn’ and so here I show her youthful and holding the power of dawn’s amber hue in her hand.

However, she is still surrounded by hints of what she will become. The flowers above are morning glory and saffron . Saffron is referred to by Virgil in the Aeneid.  Aurora being the Roman Goddess of dawn.

Aurora now had left her saffron bed,

And beams of early light the heav’ns o’erspread,

When, from a tow’r, the queen, with wakeful eyes,

Saw day point upward from the rosy skies.

The flower below the word Dawn however is the ‘Queen of the Night’ flower.

The night sky below hints at the journey she will take and words at the very bottom of the painting…

Te -Po-Tahuri-Mai-Ki-Taiao   The Night of turning towards the revealed world, One of the 12 stages of ‘Te Po’ within Maori Mythology.

Matariki Ensign

Union Jack – Kowhaiwhai (Maori scroll design): The Kowhaiwhai design is based on the Mangotipi or white pointer shark. This is here to represent strength and the ocean. I wanted to combine the Maori design with the British to make reference to New Zealand as a multi cultural country.

Matariki (Pleiades) star motif: Replaces the Southern Cross. Matariki being the Maori New Year. A time to reflect on the past and to think about and plan for the future. A time for celebration!

The Pataka (store house): Top right hand corner. At Matariki our storehouses are full of food to sustain our bodies throughout the colder seasons. It is now the time to concentrate on filling our personal ‘pataka’ (our mind).

Proverb: ‘Tirohia atu nei ka wheturangitia Matariki, te whetu o te Tau’

‘Look above beyond the horizon and there you shall witness Pleiades, sign of the New Year’

Pipiri-June: Matariki was celebrated at different times by different tribes.

The Long Night


Flora top boarder: Ngaio Tree – This represents the story of ‘Rona and the Moon’.

I wanted to include this design as a way to bring another story/myth of a woman and her connection to the darkness.

Flower in Hine Nui’s hair: Deadly Night shade or Atropa belladonna – It seemed an obvious choice as the flower of which the great Hine-Nui-Te-Po would adorn her hair with.

Kowhaiwhai (scroll design): Rautawa-ngutukaka- A design that includes two different native flora elements, bringing a touch of contemporary and traditional Maori decorative design into a work which has been inspired by Art Nouveau. The pillar in which the kowhaiwhai design sits represents the operatic houses.

Carpe Noctum: ‘Seize the Night’ – Carpe diem is translated as ‘seize the day’ meaning to make the most of the time you are given. I have chosen to change the day to night but for its meaning to remain the same.


Morepork or Ruru: A small brown, nocturnal owl found throughout New Zealand.


The Masks: Representing dramatic performance. The masks are the traditional generic division between comedy and tragedy.