Story: Atheism and secularism

The virgin in the condom

In 1998 an artwork exhibited at Te Papa (the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa) in Wellington attracted religious protests. It was a statuette of the Virgin Mary in a condom by artist Tania Kovat. MP John Banks attempted to prosecute the museum, but Solicitor-General John McGrath ruled that a prosecution should not proceed due to the freedom-of-expression provisions enshrined in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The artwork was a response to the Catholic Church's stance on issues such as contraception, sexuality and abortion.

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How to cite this page:

Carl Walrond, 'Atheism and secularism - An increasingly secular country', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 28 May 2022)

Story by Carl Walrond, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018