Buck Nin

b. 1942d. 1996

Buck Nin was born and raised in Northland of Chinese, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Toa decent. Nin's early art education was supported by art teacher, Selwyn Wilson. Wilson had been influenced by Gordon Tovey who promoted inclusion of Māori art, craft and song in the school curriculum. From school, Nin went on to study art at the universities of Auckland (1961-2) and Canterbury, graduating in 1966. Subsequently he completed a Master of Education Administration at the University of Hawai'i, and a PhD in Arts Administration at the Texas Tech University, conferred in 1981.

Along with Baden Pere, Paratene Matchitt and Cliff Whiting, Nin was seminal in a revival of Māori culture and the evolution of contemporary Māori art. He worked on the restoration of Rongopai in the 1970s and, with Rongo Wetere, transformed the Aotearoa Institute into Te Wānanga o Aotearoa with statutory equivalence to universities, polytechnics and teachers' training colleges (1988-1994).

"In his paintings, Nin incorporated motifs drawn from Māori carving, weaving and rafter patterns. His best-known work incorporates large lattice-like structures embedded in the landscape, which evoke a spiritual presence in the environment."

~ quoted from Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

See also:

Buck Nin (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa), 'Rangitoto' (1984), University of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021