Red Piano and Bronze Bulls coming to Wellington

27 July 2012 

After a successful season at the Venice Biennale, in Paris and Christchurch, Michael Parekowhai’s On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer will make its final stop at the national museum, Te Papa. Opening Saturday 25 August, a specially reconfigured installation will be shown in a single gallery space for four weeks and provides an exciting opportunity to view Parekowhai’s Venice exhibition.  

The centerpiece of the installation is an ornately carved Steinway concert grand piano. Painted a vibrant red and titled He Korero Purakau mo te Awanui o te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, it is Te Papa’s latest major acquisition of contemporary art.

Standing alongside He Korero Purakau mo te Awanui o te Motu: story of a New Zealand river are two black bronze replica pianos complete with two bulls, one standing and one sitting, as well as five bronze olive tree saplings.

Over the four weeks He Korero Purakau mo te Awanui o te Motu: story of a New Zealand river will be performed by top musicians including Gareth Farr, Robert Wiremu and Tama Waipara, and at 12.30pm daily by pianists selected to play this unique piano when it was exhibited in Venice.

In the adjacent galleries Te Papa presents new acquisitions of important works by Jim Allen and Colin McCahon, including McCahon’s painting Koru 1, 2, 3 (1965).

“These three exhibitions provide a wonderful opportunity to engage with some of the most significant examples of contemporary New Zealand art from the mid-1960s through to the present day”, says Sarah Farrar, Acting Senior Curator Art at Te Papa. “It will be an unforgettable one month programme.”

Te Papa would like to acknowledge the support of the Friends of Te Papa, Ernst & Young, Creative New Zealand, and the Wellington City Council.

Michael Parekowhai, Colin McCahon, Jim Allen 

25 August – 23 September 2012
Level 5, Te Papa
Free entry

For further information or images, please contact:

Roxan Mathys
Manager Communications (Acting), 029 601 0180 or (04) 381 7021,


Notes to the Editor:

Publications available in Te Papa Store:

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer - Michael Parekowhai published by Michael Lett and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery on the occasion of the exhibition, Michael Parekowhai On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, for the New Zealand Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, 2011. Price HB $39.00 (Friends of Te Papa $33.15).

Michael Parekowhai HB – Justin Paton published by Michael Lett, 2007 Essay ‘The Big Ask: 20 Questions about Michael Image Volume: Parekowhai’ by Justin Paton. Price $160 (Friends of Te Papa $136.00).