Pisupo lua afe (Corned Beef 2000) 1994 

Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) 1994, Tuffery, Michel (1966–&nbsp;), Wellington. Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Reproduced courtesy of the Artist, <A href="http://www.micheltuffery.co.nz/" target="_blank"> Michel Tuffery</A>.  . Te Papa
Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) 1994, Tuffery, Michel (1966– ), Wellington. Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Reproduced courtesy of the Artist, Michel Tuffery. . Te Papa

Curriculum links

Learning areas

The Arts, Social Studies

Which strands will it fit with?

  • The Arts: Visual Arts - Developing Practical Knowledge in the Visual Arts: Understanding the Visual Arts in Context: Communicating and Interpreting in the Visual Arts
  • Social Studies: Identity, Culture, and Organisation: The Economic World

Key competencies

Thinking: Using language, symbols, and texts: Relating to others

Levels of achievement

Levels 1-4 (The Arts), levels 1-8 (Social Studies)

Year groups

Years 1-13

Which topics of study can it support?

  • New Zealand art and artists
  • New Zealand icons
  • Pacific society - past and present

Back to top

How long might this take?

Allow 10-15 minutes.

Where do I find it?

Level 4, Tangata o le Moana - look for the coconut trees! If you get lost, just ask a Te Papa Host.

Why should I take my class to visit this?

  • See a sculpture made by one of New Zealand’s best known Pacific artists.
  • This is a good example of contemporary art made with recycled materials.

Back to top

What is there to do there?

  • Identify the visual clues the artist uses to convey his message.
  • Compare Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) to the more traditional artworks in the Tangata o le Moana exhibition.

What should I know about this?

  • Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) is a life-sized bullock made by artist Michel Tuffery from flattened cans of corned beef.
  • In the Pacific Islands, and also in Pasifika communities in New Zealand, there are many traditional gifts of exchange. However, tins of pisupo (corned beef) have become increasingly popular as gifts at weddings, funerals, feasts, and other special occasions. Pisupo plays an important role not only in the Pacific Island diet, but in the culture as well.
  • Cattle are raised in the Pacific Islands, but much of the pisupo is imported.
  • Tuffery uses corned beef bullock, to comment on the impact of global trade and colonial economics on Pacific Island cultures. In particular, he looks at how an imported good has become integral to Pasifika customs and has, in some cases, replaced traditional items. Tuffery’s bullock, an animal not traditionally raised in the Pacific Islands, raises questions about whether foreign intervention encourages independence or fosters dependency. 
  • Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) featured in an exhibition of works by artists of Pacific Island descent, called Bottled Ocean. This exhibition (at City Gallery, Wellington) gave artists the opportunity to create artworks which expressed their views of contemporary Pasifika culture.
  • Michel Tuffery is a Polynesian artist born in New Zealand to a Samoan mother and European father. He also has Cook Island and Tahitian heritage. Tuffery works with a number of different media in his artworks which include prints, posters, woodcuts, lithography, sculpture, set design, and performance pieces.

Back to top

Possible topics for discussion

  • What materials has the artist used and why? Michel Tuffery has used recycled corned beef cans to show how an imported good has become integral to Pasifika customs.
  • What other recycled materials could you make this bullock from? Or could you add something to it?
  • If you were to make a New Zealand version of this sculpture, what would it look like? What would you make it out of? What would your sculpture say about New Zealand?

Further information

  • Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000) in our collections
  •   Tai Awatea | Knowledge Net, Te Papa’s online multimedia resource.
  • Speaking in Colour. Mallon, S, and Pereira, P F (eds). 1997. Wellington:Te Papa Press.
  • Walker, T. 1994. Everything is Connected: The Art of Michel Tuffery. Art New Zealand, no 70, Autumn, pp64-7.
  • Te Moemoea no Iotefa: The Dream of Joseph: a Celebration of Pacific Island Artists. 1990. Wanganui, Sarjeant Gallery.
  • Icons Ngā Taonga: From the Collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 2004. Wellington: Te Papa Press

Back to top

Related material

Back to top