Kura Gallery Maori Art Design BNZ Matariki Celebration painting

Drawing for a church window at Mitimiti

NFS – from the BNZ Collection

Ralph Hotere was one of New Zealand’s most important contemporary artists. A humble man, he was renowned for speaking little about his own work, preferring to let the works speak for themselves:

“There are few things I can say about my work that are better than saying nothing.” (Ralph Hotere, 1996)
Drawing for a church window at Mitimiti was taken from a series of works created in 1982, the year of his father’s death. The works feature places along the West coast of Muriwhenua, including Hione, the cemetery at Mitimiti. Although Hotere spent much of his adult life in Dunedin, the Towards a church window series illustrates his ongoing connection to Mitimiti: the place he was born, the place his ancestors are buried, and the place Ralph himself has been laid to rest.

The name Mitimiti is said to mean ‘to lap, or lick up’ and refers to the site at which spirits leaving the earth at Cape Reinga would stop and quench their thirst on the stream water seeping up through the sand.