Austen A Deans

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1915, d.2011

Mist on Mt. Peel

Tarahaoa, Mount Peel, has a history that relates to the originating story of Te Waipounamu, the South Island. Tarahaoa is the Māori name for Mount Peel; Huatekerekere is Little Mount Peel. The Āri-te-Uru tradition differs from the Kāi Tahu tradition and tells that Tarahaoa and his wife Huatekerekere were passengers on the waka [canoe] Āri-te-Uru. The waka capsized and many passengers went ashore to explore. Failing to return to the waka before daylight, they were turned to stone and rock and became the mountains known as the Southern Alps, with Aoraki [Mount Cook] paramount. It is Aoraki’s mokopuna [grandchild] Tu-Te-Raki-Whanoa who comes across the wreckage of the waka and holds a tangi [mourning] for his loved one and ancestors.

(He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land, 17 September 2016 – 18 February 2017)

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Mount Peel (1717m) dominates the Mount Peel Range, which rises between the Orari and Rangitata rivers in South Canterbury. Austen Deans has described mountains as his chief enthusiasm and the combination of painting and tramping are ideally suited to him. Deans uses his outdoor sketches as the basis for more highly finished studio paintings. His realist, representational style emphasises accuracy and detail. Deans' skill as a watercolourist is seen here in his control of the wet washes of colour which effectively create a sense of the mists surrounding the mountain. Deans grew up in Central Canterbury. He trained at the Canterbury University College School of Art. During World War II he was appointed an official war artist just two days before being captured on Crete in 1941. He returned to New Zealand in 1946 and in 1947 went to London to study at the Sir John Cass Institute. By 1950 Deans had returned and settled at Peel Forest, where he has remained since. (Label date unknown)