Nga Tauira Tuatora


Robert Jahnke



  • Whakairo


  • Lead
  • Wood


  • H1200 x W500mm

Robert Jahnke (Ngai Taharora, Te Whanau a Iritekura, Te Whanau a Rakairo o Ngati Porou), ‘Nga Tauira Tuatora’ (1993), Cotton Building, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington

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


3 mounted, carved triangular pou. Of the three stylised poupou figures carved out of wood and lead that make up Nga Tauira Tuatora, Jahnke writes:
“This work continues a series of images that pronounce the tauira (example) of the prophets Te Kooti Rikirangi, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Rua Kenana. The figures maintain an aspective attitude in their severe minimalist figurative configuration which, akin to the poupou of the wharenui with their mnemonic and scripted references appropriated from European sources, explicate the esoteric vocabulary of the past. Turangawaewae and whakapapa compositional configuration of the figurative images evoke the stance of these tipuna against the political oppression of the period. This attitude together with the kupu whakaari
(prophesy) associated with each tupuna is a salient reminder of mana motuhake (separate mana); an endorsement of the rights of the Maori towards self-determination in education and in life.”
- From an info panel installed with the work

Work is part of the Victoria University of Wellington Staff Club Collection, on permanent loan to the Ngā Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection.