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Buck Nin

Buck Nin (1942-96), New Zealand (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa), Ko wai te waka e kau mai nei (What is this canoe that swims my way?), 1976, acrylic paint on board. Purchased 1976

The soul of the land

In this painting Buck Nin combines vibrant colours, a dark landscape, and the richly patterned forms of a waka (canoe).

For Nin, the waka was deeply symbolic. He wrote: ‘the canoe prow … carves its path through and into the land infusing it with its own power. I have taken that whole aspect of the canoe prow … and imposed it on my paintings so that you look through the lattice work and into the soul of the land.’

An artist, teacher, restorer of marae (communal meeting places), and organiser of exhibitions, Nin was a major force in contemporary Māori art.

Click on the images below to find out more


Don Binney
Pacific frigate bird I

Ko wai te waka e kau mai nei

Karakia, by Gordon Walters

Gordon Walters

Mangaweka, by Robin White

Robin White

Fraser sees me, I see myself

Jacqueline Fahey
Fraser sees me, I see myself


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