He toi whakairo, he mana tangata.
Where there is artistic excellence, there is human dignity.
New Zealanders are the inheritors of two of the world’s great art traditions. One links back beyond the thousand-year-long period of human settlement in these islands of Aotearoa New Zealand into the ancestral world of the Pacific. The other originates in far-off Europe, with roots in the classical world of ancient Greece and Rome. Both are foundational to the rich and diverse art culture that flourishes in New Zealand today.
From its collections of historical, modern, and contemporary Māori, Pacific, New Zealand and European art, photography, and applied and decorative arts, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is uniquely placed to reveal the extent of the nation’s art heritage. In a broad historical sweep across these collections, Toi Te Papa Art of the Nation sets out to present, in the largest and most inclusive art exhibition the museum has ever attempted, a mix of taonga, ‘icons’, old favourites, recent acquisitions, and new media works that document the cultural development and shifting tastes of successive generations.
While the exhibition focuses on European and New Zealand art, the long term Toi Te Papa strategy also encompasses art currently on display in other areas of the museum (including the taonga in Mana Whenua and treasures in Mana Pasifika, now replaced by Tangata o le Moana), online information and a range of research and publication projects. Toi Te Papa honours the art of the nation, the artists who produced the works, and the people to whom this heritage belongs.
Former Director, Art and Collection Services (2004–2009)