- Acrylic on canvas
- Purchased 1989
- 2075 x 4025mm
While most haka are performed by men, some iwi have traditions of female haka. Here, Robyn Kahukiwa has painted women from her own Ngāti Porou iwi performing their haka – an event which has on occasion provided women with a means of articulating their fight for social justice.
Robyn’s depiction of mana wāhine is derived from traditions of Māori carving – another means of expression usually associated with male practitioners. Robyn says that Tena I Ruia represents “a form of challenge to Māori and Pākehā to show that we have the drive towards self-determination and the affirmation of tangata whenua status. […] As Māori women we need to reaffirm our place in Aotearoa and be accorded the same status that once was ours in traditional culture.”
(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )