Story: Māori humor - te whakakata

'Kapa haka', by Michael Parekowhai

'Kapa haka', by Michael Parekowhai

Artist Michael Parekowhai used his older brother Paratene, a security guard, as the model for a set of 15 life-size fibreglass figures, collectively titled 'Kapa haka'. They were first exhibited at an art gallery on Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 2003. Art critic Justin Paton commented, 'Given that security guards are found more often in K Rd banks and nightclubs than in its well-heeled commercial art galleries, the sight of five of them guarding a room full of nothing was enough to make the space crackle with politics. Installed in the homes of wealthy art collectors, the effect is even more biting – brown muscle protecting white wealth at minimum wage.’

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Michael Lett Gallery
Photograph by Patrick Reynolds

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Courtesy of Michael Parekowhai

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Māori humor - te whakakata - Māori humour in the 2000s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/40401/kapa-haka-by-michael-parekowhai (accessed 14 November 2019)

Story by Mark Derby, published 5 Sep 2013