Rangihiroa Panoho

Rangihiroa Panoho was born in Anguanak, Papua New Guinea and was educated at Dargaville High School, Kelston Boys’ High School and Avondale College. He graduated with a B.A. in Art History from Auckland University in 1984 and an M.A. (1st class hons) in Art History in 1988. His thesis topic was "Developments in Māori Art : Paratene Matchitt". He is currently writing a Ph.D entitled "Authenticity in Māori Art" at Auckland University.

Panoho worked as a student research assistant in the Auckland Art Gallery in 1984, and was a curator at the Sarjeant Art Gallery from 1988-1991. In 1994-95 he was a part-time lecturer in Māori Studies at the University of Victoria. From 1991-1995 he was lecturer in History and Sociology of Design at the School of Design at the Wellington Polytechnic. In 1995 Panoho worked as a freelance curator for the Hawaiki: Last Homeland exhibition in conjunction with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and the Auckland Institute and Museum. From 1996-97 he was a part-time lecturer in the Department of Art History at the University of Auckland and in the School of Design at UNITEC in Auckland. From 1997-98 he has been a full-time lecturer in Mori Art and Art History in the Department of Art History at the University of Auckland. He has written non-fiction papers in the area of Māori, Pacific Island and First Nation art forms with an interest in cross cultural dialogue and issues of appropriation. His curating, publishing and lecturing focus on similar themes though increasingly cross disciplinary approaches. Panoho has assisted in writing some of the annotations below which can be found in quotation.

In 2015 Panoho published Maori Art: History, Architecture, Landscape & Theory. In 2016 an exhibition, IOU MĀORI ART: the book + the exhibition, was delivered which explored tribal landscapes and photographs by Mark Bentley Adams and Haruhiko Sameshima contained in the publication.

Biographical sources

  • Interview, phone conversation and correspondence with Panoho: 1993, 3 and 17 August 1998.
  • http://pihirau.co.nz/maori-art-book/ 14 October 2016


  • "Te Wehenga O Rangi Raua Ko Papatuanuku." Object: Centre for Contemporary Craft. Sydney. No details.
  • Panoho ‘reiterates the comparison made by senior contemporary Māori artists in the 1950’s and 1960’s of the separation of Rangi and Papa with their own predicament. Panoho argues the separation is an enduring metaphor for the ongoing binary conflict between tradition and change.’
  • "The art of Shona Rapira Davies." Art and Asia Pacific. No further details.
  • Contemporary Māori Art, Whakaparu Ki Te Wai Māori: The Muddying Of Cultural Waters. Craftsman House, Sydney, in association with Gordon Breach Arts International, New York. No further details.
  • ‘Panoho used his tribal river to discuss the flow of Māori art from its traditional base and its emptying into international waters.’
  • "Haongia Te Taonga." Art New Zealand 40 (Spring 1986): 31+.
  • Panoho reviews Haongia Te Taonga held at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Hamilton, which featured the art work of Ralph Hotere, Selwyn Muru, Kura Rewiri-Thorsen, Para Matchitt and Arnold Wilson.
  • "Paratene Matchitt: The Principle of Change in Māori Art." Art New Zealand 45 (Summer 1987/1988):63-67.
  • Panoho questions whether more links could have been made between Te Māori and contemporary Māori art and specifically between the work of Para Matchitt which was exhibited concurrently with Te Māori but in separate gallery space. Panoho discusses Matchitt’s sculptural pieces ‘Huakina Flag’, and ‘Papa Kainga’ and notes how Matchitt transmutes ‘traditional motifs into a contemporary context’ through his use of new tools and materials while drawing upon traditional art forms of tukutuku, taniko, weaving, and carving.
  • "Dr Michael Ames at Owae Marae." AGMANZ Journal 19.4 (1988): 7.
  • Panoho reports on a hui arranged by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Taranaki Museum with the Owae Marae to host a meeting with Dr Ames, director of the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Colombia.
  • "A Decade in the Dome: Ten Years of Installations at the Sarjeant Gallery." Art New Zealand 50 (Autumn 1989): 64-67.
  • Panoho provides a brief history of Sarjeant Gallery in Wanganui and discusses the twelve installations exhibited in the gallery’s central dome area since the removal of the marble copy of the Greek statue, ‘The Wrestlers’, in 1979 (which had occupied this central position in the gallery since 1919).
  • "REPORTS: Change Versus Tradition: A Cultural Dilemma In The Pacific?" AGMANZ Journal 20.4 (1989): 33-34.
  • Panoho reports on the 4th International Meeting of the Pacific Arts Association Artistic Heritage in a Changing Pacific which met in Honolulu from 6-12 April, 1989. Panoho comments on Sidney Mead’s opening speech, which Panoho states ‘outlined the effects of what he saw as a global assault of western culture on the rich artistic heritage of Pacific people.’ Panoho questions the rationale of assuming ‘that any transmission of artistic heritage taking place in the Pacific today can remain untainted by European contact’ and asks who has the right to ‘determine the cultural purity of artistic heritage in the Pacific?’
  • "Another View Of The Photographs Of Laurence Aberhart." Antic 8 (Dec. 1990): 22-27.
  • Panoho ‘explores the relevance of photography designed to be shown outside a Māori community context in the art museum yet relying on taonga and meeting house interiors for the subject matter. Panoho questions whether Aberhardt’s central motivation ‘to record that which may become a loss’ is a conservation based argument involving a certain degree of morbidity.’
  • "Te Harakeke No Place For The Bellbird To Sing, Western Colonisation Of Māori Art In Aotearoa." Cultural Studies. London: Routledge, 1994. No further details.
  • ‘Adapted from an address given to Post colonial Formations, Griffith University, Brisbane. This article deals with the issue of appropriation by using the metaphor of the harakeke. Māori culture is described as holistic and its motifs and narratives as intimately bound into the wider fabric of a culture strongly affected by extraction.’
  • "A Search For Authenticity: Towards A Definition And Strategies For Cultural Survival." He Pukenga Kōrero 2.1 (Kōanga [Spring] 1996): 20-25.
  • This paper was presented at the Toi oho ki Apiti Māori Art Conference at Massey University inPalmerston North, N.Z. (June 26-28th, 1996). Panoho looks at authenticity as an imposition on Māori culture.
  • "A Search For Authenticity; Towards a Definition and Strategies for Cultural Survival." He Pukenga Kōrero: A Journal of Māori Studies 2.1 (1996): 20-25.
  • Panoho writes: that this is ‘an adapted version of a paper presented at "Toi Oho Ki Apiti" in 1996. Panoho looks at authenticity as an imposition on Māori culture. He challenges the belief that visually Māoriness constitutes classical manifestations which must be referenced to demonstrate ethnicity.’
  • "Contemporary Māori Art." MacMillan Dictionary of Art. London: MacMillan, 1997. No further details.
  • Panoho writes that this is: ‘A historical review of contemporary Māori art following a section by Ngahuia Te Awekotuku on the ‘traditional’ dimension of the arts.’
  • "Ralph Hotere: the art of getting to the heart of it." Seminar Series, Auckland Art Gallery, August 22, 1998. Auckland, N.Z.: In house publication. 1998.
  • Panoho ‘deals with the issue of ethnicity in the artist’s work. He finds parallels between Hotere and the work of western artists but points to the artist’s tribal base as providing the most significant source for meaning.’
  • Beneath the eagle : vision, leadership and contemporary Maori Art. Wellington, N.Z: Victoria University of Wellington, 2000
  • "Kei hea te ngakau Māori? Locating the Heart, Shona Rapira-Davies and Reading Māori Art." He Pūkenga Kōrero, A Journal of Māori Studies, Massey University 7.2 (Autumn 2003):25-34.
  • Māori art : history, architecture, landscape and theory. Auckland, N.Z.: Bateman, 2015.
  • "Māori Art: History, Architecture, Landscape and Theory." Auckland, N.Z.: Batemans in association with Pihirau Productions Ltd, 2015
  • Reviews

  • "Review for marketing Aboriginal art in the 1990s." Rev. of American Anthropologist, Ed. Jon Altman and Luke Taylor, and The Aboriginal Arts and Crafts Industry, by Jon Altman.
  • Panoho reviews these two texts and states: ‘The first is a collection of transcribed issue based lectures given by people involved in the Arts and Crafts Industry. The second text is a complex data based record of the economic and cultural state of the industry.
  • "Hirini Moko Mead: Māori Art on the World Scene." New Zealand Archaeologist 1997. No further details.
  • Panoho ‘acclaims Mead’s contributions to the field of anthropology and writing about taonga and culture. Panoho also challenges the author’s deliberate editing of contemporary Māori art and its international exposure from his collection of essays and addresses.’
  • "Reviews." Archaeology in New Zealand 40.3 (Sep 1997): 220-221.
  • Theses

  • "Paratene Matchitt: Developments in Māori Art." Diss. U of Auckland, 1988.
  • Panoho writes: "The thesis involves sections dealing with issues such as chronology, biculturalism, tribal background, influence on other artists, artistic contribution to Māori communities and the role of education in the artists work."
  • Visual Arts

  • "Cultural Response Sargeant Gallery 1988-9." Sargeant Gallery, Wanga ui Exhibition catalogue. 1988-9.
  • Panonho writes: ‘A catalogue for a show involving major Māori and pakeha artists from the galleries collections. The show explores common issues explored from different cultural perspectives through narrative and motif.’ Panoho proposes the idea of proximity and distance from Māori concerns.’
  • Landscape into Garden. Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui Exhibition Catalogue 1989.
  • ‘Exhibited at the Sargeant Gallery. A collaboration with a landscape architect.’
  • Te Moemoea No Iotefa/The Dream of Joseph: A Celebration of Pacific Art and Taonga, Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui Devcember 15 1990-March 3 1991. Wanganui, N.Z.: The Gallery, 1990.
  • Panoho’s writing consists of ‘interviews with 10 contemporary Pacific Island artists and an introductory piece of poetic narrative. The show looks at cultural hybridity, issues of ethnicity and most importantly the response to island traditions in an urban environment isolated from their island homelands.’
  • Whatu Aho Rua Catalogue. Tandanya, National Aboriginal Arts Centre, Sargeant Gallery, Adelaide International Festival of the Arts, 1992.
  • Panoho wrote the catalogue text. Panoho ‘uses the double pair twining technique used by weavers to explore the juxtaposition of new and old, Māori and pakeha taonga.’
  • Māori: At The Centre, On The Margins. Museum Of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Apr. 1992.
  • Panoho ‘extends his earlier exploration in Cross Cultural Response. The essay looks at notions of cultural centrality and marginality. Work by both Māori and pakeha artists is used to explore whether proximity or distance to a Māori kaupapa is discernible and whether a form of cultural imperialism continues in New Zealand art.’
  • "Waka In Unchartered Water, The Work Of Shona Rapira Davies At Te Aro Park." Shona Rapira Davies. Bowen Galleries, Wellington. Catalogue essay, 1994.
  • ‘A look at tribal motif and meaning in the artist’s controversial public project.’


  • Cochrane, Susan. "Whatu Aho Rua, Adelaide Arts Festival." Sydney Morning Herald.
  • McKenzie, Mina. Rev. of Whatu Aho Rua, Adelaide Arts Festival, Art Link. No details.
  • Rewi, Adrienne. "Contemporary Māori Art." Air New Zealand Inflight Magazine. No details.
  • Swain, Pauline. "Visual essays of the Pacific." Dominion 20 July 1991: 10.