Paratene Matchitt

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View of the City to Sea Bridge
View of the City to Sea Bridge

Paratene Matchitt (born 1933) is a New Zealand sculptor and painter. He is known for combining traditional Māori art forms with those of modernist art. His work also references events from New Zealand history, particularly the Māori prophetic movements of the nineteenth century and most specifically Te Kooti.

Early life[edit]

Paratene Matchitt was born in Tokomaru Bay, East Cape. He is of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea and Ngāti Porou descent. Matchitt attended St Peter’s Maori Boys College.[1]


City to Sea Bridge with Michael Fowler Centre (left) and Wellington Town Hall (right) in background

Matchitt's art formation began with helping his father and grandfather on his workshop at Edgecumbe.[2] He went to Auckland Teachers' Training College in 1955 and 1956.[2] After graduating as a teacher, he took a Dunedin-based course in teaching arts and crafts in schools. In 1957, he began his career as arts and craft adviser for the South Auckland Education Board. He was one of the artists who pursued Māori Arts and Crafts courses at Ruatoria with Pine Taiapa.[2] In November 1964, Matchitt was exhibited with other major Māori artists (Clive Arlidge and Fred Graham) in Hamilton.[3] At the time of the Te Pakanga commission (one of his greatest bodies of work) in 1974, Matchitt was an Arts Advisory Officer in South Auckland.[1] Matchitt is best known for his large-scale public sculpture such as the City to Sea Bridge in Wellington(1993) and Auckland’s Aotea Centre (1989).[4]

Matchitt's 'Ringatu III' in Alison Park on Waiheke Island had to be restored at the cost of $8000 after being hit by taggers.[5]


Matchitt was jailed for two and a half years in 2001, convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl, although he said the relationship was consensual.[6] In 2006 the High Court at Napier threw out charges against Matchitt of drugging and date-raping a 29-year-old woman, citing no evidence that the woman had either been drugged or raped.[7]


  1. ^ a b Paratene Matchitt, Te Pakanga series, Chartwell Collection (retrieved 5 May 2011)
  2. ^ a b c DUNN Michael, 2002 - New Zealand Sculpture : A history. Auckland : Auckland University Press, p.134
  3. ^ SKINNER Damian, 2008 - The Carver and the Artist, Maori Art in the Twentieth Century. Auckland : Auckland University Press. p.117
  4. ^ "Wellington City's Art in the Public Eye". city gallery wellington. 3 March 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-01.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Haines, Leah (25 June 2006). "Artist struggles to put troubles behind him". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  7. ^ "Artist's rape charge dismissed". New Zealand Herald. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-18.

External links[edit]