Whakapapa Birth & Death

Robyn Kahukiwa2005

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Auckland, New Zealand

Robyn Kahukiwa’s paintings of the 2000s look specifically at whakapapa (genealogy), including the completion of the journey from life to death. Her treatment of the subject of death grasps how human loss is an inclusive and continuous process of reconnection with ancestors who are regularly reborn into new generations.

The term whakapapa in the context of Whakapapa Birth & Death further refers to the realms of spiritual, mythic and human stories that provide substance to Māori identity. Kahukiwa’s ability to speak confidently and construct narratives about the diversity of political struggle is a proven and dynamic course of action that has been subtle and provocative. Perspectives on the past are a vital cultural indication of who we are, who we have become and our options for the future.

See more detail about this artwork


  • Title: Whakapapa Birth & Death
  • Creator: Robyn Kahukiwa
  • Creator Lifespan: 1940
  • Creator Nationality: New Zealand
  • Creator Gender: Female
  • Creator Birth Place: Australia
  • Date Created: 2005
  • Physical Dimensions: w3060 x h2010 mm (Without frame)
  • Description: Robyn Kahukiwa, of Ngati Porou descent, was born in Australia in 1938. She returned to New Zealand in 1959. In 1971, Kahukiwa held her first exhibition, in Wellington, and created a significant body of paintings, prints, drawing and sculpture.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2008
  • External Link: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
  • Medium: oil on canvas

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps