Tua Whitu

Tua Whitu

  • Artist

    Michael Parekōwhai

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    custom-made ‘Patriot’ semi-acoustic jazz guitar, maple, spruce, rewarewa, kauri, ebony and paua

  • Size

    1200 x 570 x 500 mm

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2001

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    22 Feb 2001

  • Department

    New Zealand Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Subjects

    guitars, paua, popular culture, nationalism

  • Description

    This instrument is one of a unique edition which has the collective title Ten Guitars. Each customised instrument has different patterns derived from kowhaiwhai (rafter paintings) and, like all multiple art works, each is numbered. Tua whitu, ‘the seventh’ in Te Reo Māori, is inlaid in paua-shell lettering at the 12th fret.

    Engelbert Humperdink’s song Ten Guitars – the ‘B’ side of Please Release Me (1967) – was forgotten in the rest of the world but appropriated by Māori who had moved from rural areas to cities. As the artist has stated ‘in the 60s the guitar was like a portable marae’.
    toru, wha…

    (Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, 2002)