City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi’s exhibition Matarau responds to our turbulent times and explores
the role that art can play in navigating new found complexities of everyday life.
Matarau is a group exhibition of contemporary Māori art, guest curated by Walters Prize-winning Pōneke
artist, writer and curator, Shannon Te Ao. It features all new work made by Robyn Kahukiwa, Emily
Karaka, Hemi Macgregor, Ming Ranginui, Kei te pai press, and James Tapsell-Kururangi.
Te Ao describes the exhibition as “visually fun—big on scale and ambition. Matarau follows a number of
exhibitions in Aotearoa that are highlighting the significance of Māori art—this is part of that bigger
The word Matarau refers to a multi-pronged spear used for fishing and eeling by early Māori. As a hunter
or wayfinder must understand the shifting conditions around them to fulfill their purpose; the artists in
Matarau draw from a strong sense of who and where they are as a compass for their own practice.
Te Ao says, “Historically, art has acted as a lens in which to help understand the world more clearly, and
as our daily lives become more unpredictable, contemporary artists offer a vital way to comprehend this
The exhibition includes new, large-scale works exploring themes from politics and economic mobility, to
the environment, whakapapa and love.
There are new paintings from well known artists Robyn Kahukiwa, Emily Karaka and Hemi Macgregor.
Ming Ranginui reimagines a car as a home, pimped out in her distinctive pop style. Tapsell-Kururangi’s
film explores his whānau connection to Moutohorā (Whale Island), while indigenous-led education and
publishing initiative Kei te pai press are producing a reader republishing a selection of Māori writing from
the last two centuries. The reader will be freely available for the audience to take away.
Te Ao says the artists, all at different stages of their careers, have resonated strongly with the themes of
“This show displays a range of responses to the present day, touching on the uncertainty we have collectively endured these past few years.”
Art and Heritage Director Elizabeth Caldwell says City Gallery is delighted to stage this visually generous
exhibition which brings together emerging and established artists across the generations.
“Matarau is noteworthy in that it is curated by and carries the artistic sensibility of Te Ao—one of our most prominent contemporary artists—and is strongly grounded in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.’
Matarau is accompanied by Tai Timu! Tai Pari! The Tide Ebbs, the Tide Flows—a collection of recent
artists’ film and video curated by Te Ao, in collaboration with CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa
The works respond to indigenous histories and current discourse through an array of filmic languages.
They explore issues such as language revitalisation, the commodification of natural resources, indigenous
representation within film histories, and queer narratives. Tai Timu! Tai Pari! will be screened in the gallery
Matarau and Tai Timu! Tai Pari! can be seen at City Gallery Wellington from 30 April—14 August 2022.
Entry is free, visit citygallery.org.nz for more information.
Robyn Kahukiwa (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Kōnohi, Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare) is based
on the Kapiti Coast. Recent exhibitions include Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, Auckland Gallery
Toi o Tāmaki, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2020; Lets NOT Celebrate Cook, Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, 2020; and
Papatūānuku/Earth Mother, Black Door Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2019.
Emily Karaka (Waikato, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Te Kawerau ā Maki, Ngāti Tamaoho, Te Ākitai,
Waiohua, Te Ahi Waru, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Tahinga, Ngāti Hine) is based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
Recent exhibitions include Rāhui, Visions, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2021; Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori
Art, Auckland Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2020; NIRIN: 22nd Biennale of Sydney, Art
Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2020.
Hemi Macgregor (Ngāti Rakaipaaka, Ngāti Kahungunu , Ngāi Tūhoe) is based in Paekākāriki. Recent
exhibitions include Toitū Te Whenua, Toitū Te Moana, Toitū Te Tangata, Mahara Gallery, Waikanae, 2021;
Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, Auckland Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2020;
Remote Control, Page Galleries, Te Whanganui-a-tara, 2012.
Kei te pai press is an indigenous-led education and publishing initiative established by Hana Pera Aoake
(Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Hinerangi, Tainui/Waikato) and Morgan Godfery (Te Pahipoto, Ngāti Manaipoto,
Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Lalomanu). Recent publications include TE KOREKORE, 2020; and Mai i
te poo kit e ao Maarama, 2019.
Ming Ranginui (Te Ati Haunui-a-Pāpārangi) is based in Whanganui. Recent exhibitions include Cruel
Optimism: New Artist Show, Artspace, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2021; Bling Ring, Enjoy Contemporary Art
Space, Te Whanganui-a-tara, 2021 and Learner Lover, play_station, Te Whanganui-a-tara, 2021.
James Tapsell-Kururangi (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Mākino, Tainui, Ngāti
Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Rākairoa) is based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Recent exhibitions include
He waiata aroha, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Te Whanganui-a-tara, 2021 and Crossings (a group
show about intimacies and distances), Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Te Whanganui-a-tara, 2021.
About City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi
City Gallery Wellington is a contemporary art gallery with a dynamic programme of exhibitions and
events, and an international reputation. Located in Te Ngākau Civic Square, the Gallery is the hub for
art-life in New Zealand’s capital.