Te Moananui a Kiwa

c2003 1 37

The Lau people of Vapula by Andy Leleisi'uao (2003), Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2003

Te Moananui a Kiwa

  • Where

    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

  • When

    23 April 2005 - 22 January 2006

The Pacific Ocean is vast, occupying nearly one-third of the Earth's surface. Named in 1520 by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan for its placid waters, to its Polynesian inhabitants it is Te Moananui a Kiwa - the Great Ocean of Kiwa. Polynesia encompasses a triangle within this ocean extending from Hawaii in the North to Rapanui (Easter Island) in the East and Aotearoa New Zealand in the South. Each of the cultures tells stories of an ancestor named Kiwa, famed as a great ocean explorer.

Albert Wendt, Reina Whaitiri and Robert Sullivan noted in their anthology of Polynesian poetry; 'Polynesia was written into existence by outsiders and that literature has created many myths about our region.' The same is true of the historic art that depicts the Pacific - it conveys the view of the European explorer, coloniser and settler. This exhibition, with works from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and Chartwell collections, sought to redress the balance, bringing together diverse perspectives through the mixing of periods and cultures, to tell stories of Te Moananui a Kiwa, its peoples, its lands and its histories.

Curated by Ron Brownson and Ngahiraka Mason