A dark blue strip with an image at one end depicting a woman in a maternity unit

Forceps Delivery: A print series by John Foster Forceps Delivery: He Rārangi Tānga nā John Foster

These 12 lithographs tell a story of family life, childbirth, and parenthood – unusually, from the point of view of the father. They offer a fresh view of late 20th-century New Zealand art from a largely self-taught artist.

  • When | Āhea 17 Sep 2022 – 05 Mar 2023
  • Where | Ki hea Toi Art, Level 5
  • Cost | Te utu Free entry
  • Ages | Te reanga All ages
  • Allow | Me whakarite 10 minutes
  • Accessibility | E wātea ana ki

John Foster attended summer art schools in Auckland in the 1960s and 1970s. It was there he met his wife, Pat, who was a sculptor. He combined life as a dairy farmer with a deep devotion to his artistic practice.

In 1972, John Foster dealt with his anxiety over his daughter’s difficult birth by sketching her delivery at a rural birthing unit. These prints are based on those sketches.

Through simple compositions and bold black lines, Foster conveys the pain and emotion of his wife’s labour and the delivery of his daughter. He later wrote:

Until the moment the baby began to cry, there was the sense of not knowing if everything was going to turn out well … I did not know until then how much love and respect I had for my wife and child.

Exhibition highlights Taonga whakaatu

Get our newsletter

Stay in the loop about our wide range of events and exhibitions.

Follow us

Follow our social media channels for a glimpse behind the scenes at Te Papa.

Join Friends of Te Papa

Friends enjoy benefits and discounts including invitations to previews and private viewings.


Find out how you can support Te Papa through a donation or bequest by becoming a patron.