Wanganui Colour Work no. 2

Ans Westra, Artist

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in Whanganui Region, New Zealand in circa 1990.
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Object Detail

About the Work
“As a tamaiti (boy), driving from Whanganui to Pīpīriki seemed to take forever – this is the road we would travel.
As he drove my cousins and me up the awa (river), my dad would start telling us the story of a giant mako (shark) and a giant tuatara (reptile) that lived in the sea, in great harmony with each other.
They were the best of friends.
One day the other sea-dwelling creatures, roaring with anger, complained to Tangaroa, god of the sea, "Both Mako and Tuatara have eaten all the kai!" They demanded that Tangaroa sort this out, now.
Tangaroa called a hui and said to Mako and Tuatara, "One of you has to go live on the land."
Without hesitation, Tuatara replied, "I will live on the land because I have legs."
Tuatara and Mako said a sad farewell, knowing this would be the last time they would be together in the sea.
With a flick of his tail, Mako swam out into deep water. Tuatara swam towards the beach, and as he crawled out of the water, something magical happened. He began to shrink, to the size that he is now.
It is said that when the pūtātara (conch shell musical instrument) is played, Mako and Tuatara are talking to each another, reminiscing about their old lives together.”

– Taane Tamati, Customer Services Officer at the Whanganui District Council for the Nov 2020 instalment of the My Choice exhibition series.”

After arriving in the country from her native Holland, Westra made her first trip up the Whanganui River in 1960 and began an engagement with the people of the region that continues to this day.
615 x 610mm
colour photograph
Colour photograph showing a road beside a papa clay cliff. In the centre of the image is a white road marker.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Gift of the artist, 1996.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
27 Feb 1996



Accession Number:

Part of 1 highlight set