Lonnie Hutchinson

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1963
Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri, Samoan, Scottish, English


  • Purchased 2003
  • Reproduced with permission
  • Black building paper
  • 2500 x 1000 x 100mm
  • 2003/36.a-g
  • 2003

The Seven Sisters are prominent peaks on the undulating wall of the volcanic crater that forms Lyttelton Harbour. This wall – a geographical feature known generically as a ‘caldera’ because of its resemblance to a Spanish cauldron, or cooking pot – dominated the view from the studio in which Lonnie Hutchinson worked when she made this work. Sista7 is Hutchinson’s personal response to the mass and grandeur of this natural landscape – ‘my story, my myth’. Cut from building paper, the delicate, interlaced patterns envelop the ancient and solid mountain forms like mists. (Brought to Light, November 2009)

The dimensions given here are for one of this work's seven individual parts. The spacing between each part, and thus the width of the entire work, can vary. In this image from the exhibition Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu (10 May – 24 August 2003), the parts are installed 300mm apart.

earlier labels about this work
  • Created especially for ‘Te Puawai o Ngai Tahu’, sista7 emerged out of Lonnie Hutchinson’s lifelong fascination with stories- those legends and myths through which we come to understand communities and cultures. Her subject in this work is a group of prominent peaks on the undulating wall of the volcanic crater that forms Lyttelton Harbour. This wall, known generically as ‘caldera’ because of its resemblance to a Spanish cauldron, or cooking pot, dominates the view from Hutchinson’s Lyttelton studio. Originally called ‘the seven brothers’, the peaks are now referred to as ‘the seven sleepers’ or ‘the seven sisters’. Hutchinson considers this last depiction especially appropriate, given thier monumental, almost magical, beauty; “I feel passionately fortunate that I make art in such an environment. For me this is a spiritual journey of returning to the landscape of my tipuna (ancestors).”

    In previous works, Hutchinson has used building paper to combine a personal, often lyrical, narrative with a response to the order and mass of architecture. In sista7, the thick black paper, falling in monumetal folds to the floor, emphasises the structural qualities of the natural landsape. The work represents Hutchinson’s own response to the Seven Sleepers - ‘my story, my myth’ - counter-pointing their sense of massive, ancient solidity with delicate, lace-like patterns that envelop the paper folds like wraith-like mists: fragile-looking, but strong; beautiful, but mysterious; grand, but intimate. “Much like my view.” (Contemporary collections hang, 2008)


Artist interview


Lara Strongman: Why did you call this work Hoa Kōhine (Girlfriend)?

Lonnie Hutchinson: The work is very feminine in nature. Because it’s the 125 year celebration of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa this year, I wanted to refer to women, and to the friendship between women. “Girlfriend” is what women friends call each other, in an affectionate sort of way. Hey girlfriend! And in a text we’ll use gf.

A Perspective on Pacific Art in Christchurch

A Perspective on Pacific Art in Christchurch

Pacific art is one of the more internationally successful and innovative sectors of New Zealand’s art industry, but Pacific artists in Ōtautahi have struggled to be a visible part of the city’s cultural landscape. Due to our small population and distance from the Pacific art capital that is Auckland, our artists have often developed in relative isolation, relying on our Pasifika arts community to maintain a sense of cultural vitality, belonging and place within the city.

My Favourite
Lonnie Hutchinson's sista7

Lonnie Hutchinson's sista7

I am writing about a favourite piece from the Gallery’s collection in autumn 2015, when that collection is in storage and the Gallery is closed at least until Christmas, so I’m prompting memory by consulting the online catalogue. It’s brilliant: hundreds of images, 90 percent of the entire 7,000 collection, but to be honest, it feels a bit odd. 

Lonnie Hutchinson: Hoa Kōhine (Girlfriend)

Lonnie Hutchinson: Hoa Kōhine (Girlfriend)

Lonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between womenLonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between women


Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu

Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu brings together twelve Ngāi Tahu artists in an exhibition that reveals the excellence and diversity of contemporary Ngāi Tahu visual culture.


This is not a vitrine, this is an ocean

When artist/curator Jim Vivieaere died in Auckland on June 3 this year, he was in the process of completing an exhibition for the Vitrine space at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. 


Ata Wairere

Ata Wairere

Contemporary works that create subtle openings for connection and contemplation.


Untitled (Bleu)
Chris Heaphy Untitled (Bleu)

This DVD is one of an edition of five. The projection is of water (Lake Taupo, near the mouth of the Hinemaia River) It has been turned onto its side to create an enigmatic image suggesting ghostly figures. The soundtrack is a mixture of Gregorian chanting and sacred music by the 16th century Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi.

Vertical No. 1
Kentaro Yamada Vertical No. 1

Vertical No. 1 is reminiscent of a light feature on a mast but its cascading sequence of light also recalls a drop of water.