Robyn Kahukiwa is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s pre-eminent female Māori painters.
Kahukiwa’s rediscovery of her Māori heritage, on moving from Sydney to New Zealand in 1955, has formed the crux of her painting practice, which passionately articulates and affirms her identity as a Māori wahine (Māori woman).
Since her first solo exhibition in 1971, Kahukiwa has been engaged in representing Māori and Pacific cultures as a way of reclaiming tino rangatiratanga (self-determination), and earned recognition and greater prominence as a professional artist in the seminal exhibition *Wahine Toa: Women of Māori Myth*, which toured New Zealand in 1983.
Kahukiwa’s paintings investigate the diversity of urban Māori and Pacific communities, and often represent her personal search for cultural identity. Her mural-scale paintings are populated with ancestral figures, native birds, plants and trees, and their commentary relates to the realities and struggles of Māori.