Robyn Kahukiwa

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Robyn Kahukiwa
Born1938,[1] 1940[2] or 1941[3]
Sydney, Australia
NationalityNew Zealand
Known forPainting; Writing; Illustration

Robyn Kahukiwa (born 1938) is an artist, award-winning children's book author, and illustrator from New Zealand. Kahukiwa has created a significant collection of paintings, books, prints, drawings, and sculptures.[4]


Kahukiwa was born in Sydney, Australia in 1938. She trained as a commercial artist and later moved to New Zealand at the age of nineteen.[3]

Part Māori on her mother's side, Kahukiwa is of Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Konohi and Whanau-a-Ruataupare descent.


From 1972 to 1980, Kahukiwa was a regular exhibitor at the Academy in Wellington.

In the 1980s, Kahukiwa gained prominence in New Zealand after her exhibition Wahine Toa (strong women), which toured the country.[1] This exhibition drew on Māori myth and symbolism. One of the pieces, Hinetitama, is in the permanent collection at Te Manawa.[5]

Kahukiwa's work often deals with themes of colonialism and the dispossession of indigenous people, motherhood and blood-ties, social custom and mythology.[6] In a 2004 article, Kahukiwa implements "political activism in subject matter and method into powerful images that assert Māori identity and tradition."[7]

She is a "staunch supporter of Māori rights and the power and prestige of Māori women."[8]

Kahukiwa's works are influenced by Colin McCahon, Ralph Hotere and Frida Kahlo.[1]

In 2011, Kahukiwa was awarded with the Te Tohu Toi Kē Award from Te Waka Toi, the Māori arm of Creative New Zealand.[4]


  • Taniwha (1986)
  • The Koroua and the Mauri stone (1994)
  • Paikea (1994)
  • Kēhua (1996)
  • Supa heroes: te wero (2000)
  • Koha (2003)
  • Matatuhi (2007)
  • The forgotten Taniwha (2009)
  • Tutu Taniwha (2010)
  • Te Marama (2011)
  • The Boy and the Dolphin (2016)
  • Ngā Atua: Māori Gods (2016)

With writer Patricia Grace:

  • The Kuia and the Spider (1981)
  • Watercress Tuna & the Children of Champion Street (1981)
  • Wahine Toa: Women in Maori Myth (1984)

With Joy Cowley:

  • Grandma’s stick (1982)
  • Hatupatu and the birdwoman (1982)

With Rangimarie Sophie Jolley:

  • The Blue Book (2014)



  1. ^ a b c Dunn, Michael. New Zealand Painting: A Concise History Auckland University Press, 2004.
  2. ^ Brownson, Ron. Art Toi: New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, 2011
  3. ^ a b Kirker, Anne. New Zealand Women Artists Reed Methuen, 1986
  4. ^ a b "Bowen Galleries :: Artists Catalogue". Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  5. ^ "Maori goddess returns to Te Manawa". Stuff.
  6. ^ Mané-Wheoki, Jonathan.The Art of Robyn Kahukiwa Reed Publishing, 2005
  7. ^ BAILEY, GAIL (16 November 2004). "Warrior for Maori rights and identity". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Robyn Kahukiwa | Adam Art Gallery". Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  9. ^ Susan Leckey, ed. (2015). The Europa Directory of Literary Awards and Prizes. Routledge. p. 165. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Te Waka Toi Awards".

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]