City Gallery City Gallery Wellington


Hear Michael Parekowhai’s Piano

Various times each day

There is no object I could make. . . that could fill a room like sound can.
—Michael Parekowhai, 2011

Michael Parekowhai’s spectacular sculpture He Kōrero Pūrākau mō te Awanui o te Motu: Story of a New Zealand River is a perfectly-tuned Steinway grand piano, and it’s designed to be played.

During the exhibition season for This Is New Zealand, the artist and City Gallery have put an open call out to the public to come and play this iconic artwork and help fill the Gallery with sound.

There will be performances by special guests on the opening weekend ( 3 - 4 March) at the following times:

Saturday: 12pm , 2.45pm, 4.30pm and 7pm

Sunday: 11am, 1pm and 3pm

Further performances are currently being scheduled and will be announced soon.

If you would like to play Parekowhai's piano, find out more here

About the artwork:

Created by Michael Parekowhai for the 2011 Venice Biennale, He Kōrero Pūrākau mō te Awanui o te Motu: Story of a New Zealand River is a bright red Steinway concert grand piano embellished with intricately-carved Māori motifs. It challenges our expectations around the relationship between Māori and European cultures. Art critic Justin Paton asks, “Is it a European instrument decorated with Māori carving, or a Māori carving that has engulfed a piece of European high culture?”

Parekowhai’s work is re-presented at City Gallery as part of the exhibition This Is New Zealand, which takes a critical look at New Zealand national identity, at the stories we’ve told ourselves—and others—about who we are.