The Realm of Rākau

Through the lens of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Collection

30 August 2023 - 12 November 2023

Tāne Mahuta and his siblings pushed Papatūānuku and Rakinui apart. Tāne as kaitiaki cares for ngahere, rākau, and all that live among them. Between 1840 and 2000, around 8 million hectares of native bush were removed to make space for agriculture, mining, housing and food production in Aotearoa New Zealand. Rākau allow our world to breathe and provide us with many resources essential for survival. The Realm of Rākau is a direct link to Dunedin Public Art Gallery’s collection, as an institution that has stood like a tall kauri as Aotearoa’s first public art gallery since 1884.

The magic of the natural world is felt within the collection and has been a source of inspiration for artists and creatives. The rākau in this selection of paintings connect us to their possibilities, and what they can offer us. More importantly, they serve as a reminder to respect them in return. While our world is fortunate to have beautiful rākau, their existence isn’t guaranteed. The works in The Realm of Rākau remind us to care for our ngahere and rākau just as we would for our elders, with manaakitanga and aroha, ensuring their existence is sustained for years to come.


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