Te Papakura: Our Land Our People

  • 4 August 2021

The land of Aotearoa and the people who call it home will be celebrated in the opening of Parliament’s new art gallery, Te Papakura.

Located right in the Beehive, Te Papakura will be used to showcase the work, artists, and communities from across Aotearoa New Zealand.

The space will be open to the public from Wednesday 4th August, opening with Parliament’s latest exhibition: Te Whenua Te Tangata/Our Land Our People – a curated exhibition of arts and objects from the Parliamentary Collection. Te Papakura will be open Tuesday – Saturday every week, from 10am to final entry at 4.30pm.

“I’m pleased to have a new space opening at Parliament where we can showcase and celebrate the work of artists from around New Zealand”, Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, said.

“It is important that we do this as it acknowledges the special place art has at Parliament, and also helps provide a platform for emerging artists and communities.”

 “Art is such a wonderful way to bring communities together, and Parliament is the natural fit to help showcase artists up and down the country,” Curator- Parliamentary Collection  Tasha Fernandez said.

“I hope Te Papakura helps shine a light on the incredible creativity that Aotearoa prides itself on.”

Following Te Whenua Te Tangata/Our Land Our People, Te Papakura will host up to 6 exhibitions per year. These will showcase emerging artists and groups who have submitted to show their works in the space, and will be hosted by Members of Parliament who represent those communities.

Parliament’s previous exhibition space (located in Bowen House) featured a rotating programme of art exhibitions, ranging from stunning photographs captured by Korean artists, to the works created by the art community at St Chads Charitable Trust, Rotorua, which supports persons with disabilities to live a full and rich life

Te Whenua Te Tangata/Our Land Our People

This exhibition showcases a selection of art and objects from the Parliamentary Collection, ranging from historical portraiture and Māori taonga to domestic photography. Together, they reflect the natural land of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the people who call it home.

Usually, these works adorn the walls and halls of Parliament. You might have spotted some on a public tour of Parliament, but it will be the first time some exemplary new pieces of the Parliamentary Collection will be displayed.

These include the famous korowai worn by Dame Whina Cooper during the 1975 land march to Parliament and the kahu huruhuru presented to Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and newly acquired artworks from Māori wāhine artists. Works from significant artists including John Pule, Ans Westra, Michael Moore, and Darcy Nicholas will be on display.

It’s a fitting first exhibition for Te Papakura, with the works coming from within the institution whose job is to ensure a better future for Aotearoa’s land and people.

Together, these works highlight the natural beauty of New Zealand, recognises the cultural foundations and stories that turn New Zealand into our home, and celebrates the diversity of our communities.

New Zealand Parliament has an eclectic collection of over 4,500 pieces of art and artefacts. It is mostly a historical collection, and includes artworks, parliamentary related photographs, furniture and ephemera, and gifts given to Prime Ministers, Ministers, and Members of Parliament throughout the years. 

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