Faculty of Arts


Maori Art History: Mana Taonga


Welcome to our Mana Taonga course, which focuses on Māori visual art from our arrival from the Pacific c.800 to the present day. It examines how artists critically negotiated current notions of identity in their work, and respond to new presences and influences in our community, including Christianity, colonisalism, new materials and ideas.

Forms including moko, carving, weaving, architecture, film, contemporary art are explored through key ideas such as gender politics, patronage and repatriation. Artists examined include Raharuhi Rukupo, Te Kooti, Pine Taiapa, Lisa Reihana and Ralph Hotere. We consider the ongoing effects of colonisation and globalisation in relation to the collection and display of our art.

A core part of the course is to escape from the classroom into other environments to experience our taonga: Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland War Memorial Museum and of course the wonderful Tāne Nui a Rangi which is our university's meeting house on Wynyard Street.

The course is not just about the taonga and artists themselves, but also looks into ways in which we can think about them and how they have been written about through time, both orally and in text.

This course will build on skills you have learnt at Stage I and so by the end of the course you will be more culturally aware of the history and significance of Māori art - our NZ rep at the Venice Biennale this year is none other that Lisa Reihana - point made!

Mana Taonga can supplement a suite of Māori and indigenous-focused papers in the Faculty of Arts, including in History and Māori Studies.


Coursework and exam for both 2nd and 3rd Stage 

Availability 2021

Not taught in 2021


Coordinator(s) Dr Ngārino Ellis

Recommended Reading

Borell, Nigel. Te Ātinga- 25 Years of Contemporary Māori Art.

Neich, Roger. Carved Histories.

Mead, Hirini Moko. Te Toi Whakairo.

Pendergrast, Mick. Te Aho Tapu.

Tapsell, Paul. Pukaki.

Te Awekotuku, Ngahuia. Mau Moko.


Coursework + exam


ARTHIST 338: 15.0 points


At least 15 points from ANTHRO 207, HISTORY 252 and 15 points at Stage I in Art History or 15 points at Stage II in Art History and 60 points passed, or 30 points at Stage II in BGlobalSt courses


ARTHIST 102, 238

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