Korero Mai, Korero Atu: Artists Areta Wilkinson and Te Rongo Kirkwood at Auckland Museum

30 June 2016 – 11 September 2016

Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira announces an exciting new exhibition of contemporary art this June: Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu: Artists Areta Wilkinson and Te Rongo Kirkwood at Auckland Museum.


Areta Wilkinson. Hine Ahua. 24 carat gold (Tai Poutini), 22carat gold, legal ribbon, muka 2013. Credit: Auckland MuseumTwo highly regarded contemporary Māori artists, Areta Wilkinson and Te Rongo Kirkwood, will showcase their work in the Special Exhibitions Hall. Both artists have ongoing relationships with Tāmaki Paenga Hira and Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu draws on the connection between the Museum’s extensive collections and the artists’ own works.

The artists were invited to select objects from the Museum’s collections that have been influential in the creation of their work and wider practice, and those objects will be displayed along with their own works. The exhibition features contemporary kākahu (cloaks), jewellery and sculptural works, and significant objects drawn from the Museum’s taonga Māori, Botany and Applied Arts collections, including some of Aotearoa’s finest kākahu on display for the first time.

Areta Wilkinson is a leading senior contemporary crafts practitioner who has had a long association with Auckland Museum over her career. Areta completed her doctoral thesis 2014, and last year was awarded the Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship, the most significant award of its kind in the craft/object sector.

Areta is presenting a small survey of her past work alongside new work made specifically for this exhibition. The new works are a response to a range of objects from the McCready Jewellery Shop in the Museum’s former Auckland 1866 exhibition. Her past work will be sourced from the Museum’s collection and a number of public and private collections. The Auckland Museum collection, along with other national collections, has been an important research tool in the development of her work and she has selected a range of Museum objects that have informed her creative practice over the past 20 years.

Te Rongo Kirkwood is an early-mid career artist whose work is pushing boundaries in the media she is using, primarily glass, and the international profile she is developing. One of her works was recently acquired for the Museum collection and will be on display in the exhibition. 


Te Rongo Kirkwood. Te Kaahu Pokere - The Evening of Life. Purchased with funds provided by the Museum Circle, Collection of Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga. Kiln-formed cold worked glass, silk cord, ruru and tui feathers. Weavers: Shona Tawhiao, Judy Robson-Deane. Credit: Auckland Museum


The korowai (cloaks) and other taonga held in the Museum collection have been a significant research tool for Te Rongo and she is presenting four of her contemporary korowai along with six korowai from the Museum collection, which span a broad time frame and incorporate a range of materials such as tui feather, peacock feathers, and wool and harakeke (flax).

“Around the globe museums are stimulating new thinking about ways to enable people to participate in the development of their collections,” said Museum Director Roy Clare. “As a kaitiaki, Auckland Museum protects and cares for an extensive range of significant cultural material, notably including vitally important taonga. Excitingly, Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu provides an innovative opportunity to extend our vision of re-connecting the treasures with people across Auckland.”

“Launching at the end of the month of Matariki and held during Māori Language Week, the exhibition and related bicultural programmes will illustrate Auckland Museum’s commitment to serving the needs of Aucklanders throughout Tāmaki Makaurau,” he said.

This is an exciting new development for Tāmaki Paenga Hira and will be a fascinating exhibition for anyone interested in contemporary art, Māori arts and crafts and contemporary jewellery design.

Open for ten weeks only 30 June 2016 – 11 September 2016 in the Special Exhibitions Hall

Free with Museum entry.

Click here to view the Auckland Museum website