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<EM>Paetawa, Taima, Moko and Tete, Ruatahuna</EM> by Terry O’Connor

Curator Athol McCredie tells the story behind this intimate photograph

Paetawa, Taima, Moko and Tete, Ruatahuna by Terry O’Connor
<P>This recording was created for Te Papa’s in-gallery audio tour.</P> <P>Transcript:</P> <P><STRONG>Athol McCredie</STRONG></P> <P>The subjects of this photograph appear to be relaxed and at ease. They are people of the T&#363;hoe iwi, or tribal group, of the remote Urewera region, in the east of the North Island. From the look on their faces it’s clear that something humorous has just been said.</P> <P>You might assume that such an intimate photograph must have taken by someone who knew these people very well.</P> <P>The photographer, Terry O’Connor, was in fact an outsider, a non-M&#257;ori man from Auckland. When he sought permission to begin his project on T&#363;hoe, many in the local community were initially unimpressed by this ‘tall, pale, hesitant Pakeha’, as he was described by T&#363;hoe composer Hirini Melbourne.</P> <P>Over the next ten years, however, with the iwi’s permission, O’Connor made numerous trips to photograph the life of a people. His success with this image reflects the warmth, openness and humanity that runs through all his work.</P>

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Paetawa, Taima, Moko and Tete, Ruatahuna

Terry O'Connor, Paetawa, Taima, Moko and Tete, Ruatahuna, late 1970s-late 1980s, black and white photograph, gelatin silver print,
Purchased 2010.
Full object info is available on