Tiki: Orphans of Māoriland

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Māoriland was a nineteenth-century fiction that offered a romanticised ideal of Māori life and custom for an international market, while a colonial imposition was being forced upon Māori themselves. These faux hei tiki from the Wellcome Collection, London are part of that history – neither taonga nor mass-produced trinkets, their makers are unknown and their purpose was most likely trade to tourists and collectors.

The mystery and in-betweenness of these objects held an affinity for photographer Fiona Pardington, who is of Ngāi Tahu descent and produces critically important work through her whakapapa and relationships with international collections of Ngāi Tahu taonga.  

Pardington’s reparative vision embraces the personality found in these objects, offering manaakitanga, kindness, by recognising and dignifying them as the orphans in a complex story of interaction, exchange and exploitation.

Exhibition toured by Starkwhite.

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Privacy Statement: The Christchurch Arts Audience Development Trust will ensure that all data gathered on this website will be used in accordance with the New Zealand Privacy Act and as such all data will be kept secure and only used for the purpose for which it was gathered. From time to time we may contact you about offers and competitions and to invite your feedback.