Ata Whenua


Robert Jahnke



  • Sculpture


  • Aluminium
  • Iron
  • Acrylic sheet (Perspex)
  • Wood


  • H2470 x W2620 x D100mm

Image: Photographed by Jessica O’Brien, Courtesy of Parliamentary Service


"Ata Whenua is a reflection on a statement made by Nōpera Panakereao at the conclusion of the signing of the Treaty at Kaitāia on 28 April 1840 which implied that the ATAKAU (shadow) would go to the Governor while the TINANA (substance) would remain with Māori. A year later Panakareao would invert the statement. The lead inlays of ATAKAU and TINANA recall the prophetic statement while the spiral and cross mirror Māori signatures on the Treaty of Waitangi. Kaokao is the major motif that translates across the stylised tiki forms as a statement of protest and discontent. The central panel is conceived as a whare of reconciliation while the stylised tekoteko stands as a prophetic emblem of justice."

- Robert Jahnke

Commissioned as one of eight artworks for the Māori Affairs Select Committee Room in Bowen House.