Faculty of Arts


Exploring Pacific Art

Please note: this is archived course information from 2020 for ARTHIST 730.


This course highlights the intersections, relationships and connections between a wide and diverse range of Māori and Pacific art forms, including performance, tapa cloth, body adornment and contemporary gallery based art practices, and cultural concepts like talanoa (open ended dialogue), ta (temporal), va (spatial), kastom (customary practices) and turangawaewae ("a place to stand", a sense of belonging or association grounded in one’s genealogy and tied to a particular place).

It firmly positions Māori and Pacific artists, key exhibitions and art writers within an intersectional art historical framework, indigenous knowledge systems and the contemporary, global world. 

Themes explored include indigenous and migrant voices, memory and notions of belonging, popular culture and its interface with gallery practices, and stereotypes and representation. Themes and issues are discussed alongside relevant Pacific writers and theorists, including Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Albert Wendt and Epeli Hau’ofa.


Coursework only

Availability 2020

Semester 1 and 2 (full year)


Coordinator(s) Dr Caroline Vercoe

Recommended Reading


  • Nigel Borell, ed. Te Atinga, 25 Years of Contemporary Māori Art. Auckland: Toi Māori Aotearoa, 2014.
  • Ron Brownson, ed. Home AKL: Artists of Pacific heritage in Auckland. Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, 2012.
  • Sean Mallon and Pandora Pereira, eds. Pacific Art Niu Sila: The Pacific Dimension of Contemporary New Zealand Arts. New Zealand: Te Papa Press, 2002.
  • Hirini Moko Mead and Bernie Kernot, eds. Te Māori. Māori Art from New Zealand Collections. Auckland: Heinemann, 1986.
  • Melissa Chiu, ed. Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific. New York: Asia Society Museum, 2004.
  • Susan Cochrane. Beretara: Contemporary Pacific Art. Noumea: Centre Culture Tjibaou, 2001.
  • Karen Stevenson. The Frangipani is Dead: Contemporary Pacific Art in New Zealand, 1985-2002. New Zealand: Huia Press, 2008.
  • Ian McLean, ed. How Aborigines Invented the Idea of Contemporary Art. Brisbane: IMA, 2011.


ARTHIST 730A: 15.0 points

ARTHIST 730B: 15.0 points

ARTHIST 730: 30.0 points


ARTHIST 732, 736

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