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Tributes to Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014)

Friends, colleagues and students of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki remember him and reflect on his legacy

<P data-associrn="1460037"></P> <P><STRONG>Jonathan Mane-Wheoki CMNZ<BR>1943–2014<BR>Ng&#257;puhi, Ng&#257;ti Kur&#299;, Te Aup&#333;uri, P&#257;keh&#257;</STRONG></P> <P>It was with great sadness that Te Papa acknowledged the death of Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, the museum’s former Head of Arts and Visual Culture, on Friday 10 October. <BR>Jonathan leaves a legacy as a charismatic leader and mentor. He lectured for many years at the University of Canterbury, and later held senior leadership roles at Te Papa and the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts.<BR>Earlier this year, his lifelong contribution to art was acknowledged on his appointment as Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM). He said at the time that the award acknowledged the significance of the arts in our lives. He paid tribute to ‘all the creative artists, art historians, curators and museum professionals, and aficionados who have been so important throughout my long life.’ Here, some of them in turn pay tribute to Jonathan.</P> <P>Kua hinga te t&#333;tara i Te Waonui-a-T&#257;ne.<BR>A great t&#333;tara in the forest of T&#257;ne has fallen.<BR><BR>Jonathan was one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s finest academics. He was an inspiring teacher, a generous mentor, a supportive colleague, a world-renowned scholar, and an ambassador for every institution and organisation he served. I had the privilege of working with him at the University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland.<BR>Jonathan’s experience of art was both lived and learned. He lived in a world that was completely explicable through performance, visual arts, and design. His extensive knowledge of western European art enabled him to put his distinctive stamp on the historical interpretation of our country’s art. He also heightened awareness of our unique contributions to the world of art, as demonstrated through his pioneering research and teaching in M&#257;ori and Pacific art history.<BR>He taught thousands of art, art history, and architecture students. His classes were often transformational experiences. He was a gifted orator who could speak eruditely with or without notes. <BR>Jonathan, you have prepared and mentored the next generation of artists, art historians, and curators and inspired a multitude of people from other walks of life to see the beauty in this world. As you journey back to Rahiri in your waka, rest well in the knowledge that we will continue your legacy.<BR>Haere, haere, haere r&#257;.<BR></FONT></FONT><STRONG>Associate Professor Deidre Brown, MArch, PhD, MRSNZ<BR>National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries Associate Dean Research and Postgraduate</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan and I were colleagues at the universities of both Canterbury and (later) Auckland, and though we never worked closely together I always enjoyed my occasional encounters and talks with this gracious, friendly and civilised man. <BR>An interest we shared and sometimes discussed was the art of Colin McCahon. Jonathan had known the McCahon family since boyhood when they were neighbours in Titirangi, and later he became a schoolboy member of Colin’s legendary art class in the attic at Auckland City Art Gallery. Jonathan brought great empathy and insight to his understanding of McCahon’s art, especially of its religious and M&#257;ori dimensions. I particularly cherish his contribution to <EM>Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance</EM> (2000) called ‘An Ornament for the P&#257;keh&#257;: Colin McCahon’s <EM>Parihaka Triptych</EM>’, an essay notable for its deep scholarship, aesthetic sensitivity, profound bi-cultural awareness, and its tolerance and wisdom – qualities that the man himself personified. <BR><STRONG>Peter Simpson, writer, editor and occasional curator</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan brought gravity and a great voice to the teaching of art history. He made you know it was serious. I still have in a box somewhere the notes I took at his lectures, with pencil drawings of the slides he showed.<BR>As a student in my late teens, I loved every moment of the lectures; it was all new, all news, to me. What I remember best is a walking tour he conducted for his third-year students through the permanent collection of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery: Van der Velden, Gopas, McCahon. He knew the paintings as if they were his, and his language made them ours. I had no idea that a lecturer could also be passionate and personal in this way – that they could speak about the things they were looking at from a fan’s, an admirer’s, a painter’s point of view (because he started, after all, as a painter). <BR>Not long after, Jonathan asked me if I would be interested in reviewing art for the local paper. I’d never written a review before, and didn’t think I was able, but Jonathan’s suggestion gave me the permission to imagine myself as someone who could. It was a small thing for him to do, but it changed everything for me. <BR>When I think about Jonathan today, I try to remind myself how much a small word or gesture can count to someone starting out. I know that plenty of other people remember his gift for encouragement. And I know that we all will miss it.<BR><STRONG>Justin Paton<BR>Head Curator of International Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia</STRONG></P> <P data-associrn="1459555"></P> <P data-associrn="1130277"></P> <P data-associrn="39499"></P> <P data-associrn="1459569"></P> <P data-associrn="1465977"></P> <P>Over the past week, the tributes to Jonathan Mane-Wheoki have been coming thick and fast into my inbox and across the net. They range from well-deserved formal recognition of his lifelong commitment to the arts in Aotearoa New Zealand from our key institutions, through to personal recollections and acknowledgements of Jonathan’s teaching, advocacy, and scholarship. I have found one thing to be missing: the art works that Jonathan so deeply loved. Accompanying this series of tributes are five of the many art works that will always remind me of Jonathan – my mentor, my colleague, and my friend.<BR>1. Isaac Gilsemans' <EM>A view of the Murderers’ Bay, as you are at anchor here in 15 fathom</EM> (1642) reminds me of Jonathan’s mind-bending ‘Worlds of Art’ art history course at the University of Canterbury, and, 10 years later, seeing the original drawings in Abel Tasman’s journals with Jonathan in The Hague. <BR>2. John Webber's <EM>Poedua [Poetua], daughter of Oreo, chief of Ulaietea, one of the Society Isles</EM> – more than a Pacific Mona Lisa, this painting epitomises Jonathan’s interest in art’s histories in the Pacific region. <BR>3. Rita Angus, <EM>Rutu</EM>. Jonathan once urged me to write a research essay exploring Rita Angus’ interest in indigeneity and expressing cross-cultural identity in this splendid painting. <BR>4. Colin McCahon's <EM>Victory over death 2</EM> was my first real engagement with McCahon’s work and the subject of my honours year research paper, completed under Jonathan’s tutelage. Peter Robinson's <EM>Operation: Do you speak Dutch (Dutch)?</EM> was the first work I encountered on visiting the <BR>5. Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in July this year. Couldn’t help but feel in that moment the legacy of people like Jonathan for Aotearoa’s art and artists.<BR> <STRONG>Sarah Farrar<BR> Senior Curator, Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan Mane-Wheoki has had a profound and enduring influence on M&#257;ori and Pacific art and art history. In Australia, his inspirational contributions to the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in the 1990s reframed our definitions of the art of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. <BR>Writing for a book I edited on art and social change in 2005, he described an international broadcast from Mount Hikurangi to greet the dawn of the new millennium: ‘a group of gigantic posts, carved and decorated by teachers and students from Toihoukura’ dominated the scene. ‘They stand as an appropriate metaphor for contemporary M&#257;ori art – conscious of the past and the ancestors, proud and confident in the present, and hopeful and unafraid of the future.’ Those words could serve most appropriately as a description of Jonathan himself and of his vision for not only the future of M&#257;ori and Pacific art but, indeed, for art and humanity as a whole.<BR><STRONG>Dr Caroline Turner AM<BR>Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Australian National University, and former Deputy Director Queensland Art Gallery, Australia</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan is important as a key advocate for M&#257;ori art history who insisted that M&#257;ori art needed a place within the ‘mainstream’. Despite the success of <EM>Te M&#257;ori </EM> in shifting the status of M&#257;ori carving from artefact to art, an unofficial apartheid remains customary in New Zealand – where museums display artefacts (albeit now termed ‘taonga’) and galleries display art, largely by non-M&#257;ori producers but now inclusive of ‘contemporary’ M&#257;ori art. <BR>A great exception to this general rule was the exhibition <EM>Toi Te Papa Art of the Nation</EM>, installed at Te Papa from 2004 to 2012. Overseen by Jonathan, <EM>Toi Te Papa</EM> foregrounded ancient taonga at the outset of the exhibition, alongside an oil painting of James Cook’s seamen fraternising with their M&#257;ori hosts, and it was Jonathan who ensured that works by M&#257;ori artists were threaded throughout the entire exhibition. This is a strategy that is remarkably easy to announce in the form of mission statements, but notoriously difficult to execute on the ground. <BR>N&#333; reira, e te tuakana, ng&#257 mihi wh&#257nui m&#333; o mahi hirahira.<BR><STRONG>Roger Blackley<BR>Art History Programme, Victoria University of Wellington</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan was splendid as a natural mentor and a persuasive advocate for art and artists. He recognised others’ ability in a nanosecond and nourished their talent with open-hearted generosity. As a teacher, Jonathan was equally fascinated with visual art and architecture. <BR>Jonathan often spoke with me, and we always talked about art. Recently, we had lengthy discussions about Theo Schoon and Paratene Matchitt. Subsequently, major examples of Theo’s art entered Te Papa and the Chartwell Collection at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T&#257;maki. Theo intrigued Jonathan because he was one of the first P&#257;keh&#257; artists to study M&#257;ori rock art. <BR>Para Matchitt’s significance was always understood by Jonathan. One of his finest lectures articulated Para’s innovations with the mixture of humility and authority for which he was extensively admired.<BR>Jonathan was one of our nation’s most respected professors and wore his scholarship with ease. He was the kindest and truest of friends.<BR><STRONG>Ron Brownson<BR>Senior Curator, New Zealand and Pacific Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o T&#257;maki</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan had a long association with the University of Canterbury, indeed longer than with any other institution. He completed a Diploma in Fine Arts, but also an MA in English at Canterbury, before going to the Courtauld Institute of Art, where he wrote his MA thesis on Victorian church art. He was appointed as a Lecturer in Art History at Canterbury shortly after the programme was established in 1975. <BR>Although he first specialised in Victorian art and architecture, he increasingly concentrated on contemporary art and introduced more and more New Zealand content into his courses, including M&#257;ori art. This was to become the field for which he was best known. He was a dedicated, admired, and influential lecturer, and set many students on paths to careers in art history. As a postgraduate supervisor, he demanded high standards but was always supportive of his students. During his term as Dean of Music and Fine Arts, he was a meticulous administrator of academic processes and a skilled and fair resolver of disputes.<BR>In the wider university he was a tireless advocate for M&#257;ori and did much to increase institutional awareness of biculturalism. He was a highly valued colleague – supportive, considerate, and always looking out for ways in which he could help his fellow art historians with professional opportunities. His departure from Canterbury in 2004 was a loss at both a personal as well as a professional level, although ‘his’ university and city always remained close to his heart. He will be sorely missed.<BR><STRONG>Dr Ian Lochhead</STRONG></P> <P>Upstairs in the staff corridor at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury, there was always one door halfway down on the right which was ajar, with a busy and meticulous scholar bent over his papers inside. If you tapped on the door, Jonathan would look up, his face wreathed in smiles, and welcome you in. <BR>He was as generous with his time as he was with his knowledge, and I took his courses knowing that they would include many weekends on carefully planned excursions to examine Victorian and Edwardian architecture ‘in the field’. I would never otherwise have been invited into houses in Orari Gorge, drunk tea with the vicar at Woodbury, or spent happy hours in the offices of the former <EM>West Coast Times</EM> in Hokitika, scouring the public notices column for the call for tenders to erect W B Armson’s Café de Paris – ‘only in wood, but grandly proportioned in the neoclassical style’. <BR>Jonathan was as at ease drinking hot chocolate with his students in Governors Caf&#233; on George Street, Dunedin, as he was attending Wagner at the Staatsoper in Vienna. He encouraged all his students to believe in the possibility of wider horizons, and to reach for the stars. He introduced me to worlds of high culture and sophistication which, as a fitter and turner’s daughter from Napier, I could not have imagined. I will be forever grateful to have had his guidance, and I will miss him.<BR><STRONG>Linda Tyler, a student of Jonathan’s in the early 1980s</STRONG></P> <P>My relationship with Jonathan was more than as a colleague or mentor - he was ‘Uncle Jonathan’. Jonathan took me under his wing, both teaching and facilitating my navigation into New Zealand’s M&#257;ori and Pacific art worlds. He opened doors; he created opportunities. We attended conferences, exhibition openings, the opera; we chatted about issues and ideas, about an indigenous art history. <BR>In some ways, Jonathan was ‘larger than life’. The standard he set as a teacher and a scholar will continue to be something I strive for throughout my life. But Jonathan was also firmly grounded, acknowledging the importance of community, a sense of responsibility, a respect, a need to give back, a need to create and protect relationships. <BR>Memories of our morning routine of saying hello in many different languages, his laugh, the way he cleaned his glasses will not fade but grow brighter as the years go by. I will always hold dear our relationship. I will always cherish his generosity. I will always treasure his memory. <BR>Mauruuru e aroha nui roa. <BR><STRONG>Karen Stevenson, Christchurch</STRONG></P> <P>I remember once introducing Jonathan, up from Christchurch, to colleagues in the gallery tearoom in Wellington. ‘This is Jonathan Mane-Wheoki,’ I said. ‘He’s one of our most distinguished art historians. A great public intellectual. He’s done an enormous amount to push the culture forward. His writing on contemporary M&#257;ori art is extremely important.’<BR>I went on in this vein for another couple of minutes. Jonathan looked at me solemnly, unblinking, his hands folded. ‘What bullshit, Lara,’ he said.<BR>This was about the time that I realised I was part of a global network of people who referred to him as ‘Uncle Jonathan’. Most, but not all, were his ex-students; some, like me, had done post-graduate study with him; all, without exception, had benefited from his many kindnesses long after being in regular contact with him. Here we were, curators, writers, poets, artists, gallery workers, linked to one another through our relationship with Jonathan. ‘Seen Uncle Jonathan lately?’ we’d ask. ‘Yes, he was through a few weeks ago for a talk. Seemed in good form.’<BR>Once I had to drive him to a meeting about an exhibition out in Porirua. I borrowed a car from the council pool, but when I went to pick it up, it was tiny and full of junk. Jonathan stood at the top of the vehicle ramp, an imposing and dignified figure in a navy suit. I negotiated with the man in charge of the cars, and returned with a large and impressive vehicle. ‘How did you manage that?’ asked Jonathan. ‘I told him I had a distinguished kaumatua on board,’ I replied. He shot me a look, and I winked.<BR>If you look at his CV, it’s hard to know how he packed it all in: the exhibitions, the lectures, the papers, the many boards he sat on. He was constantly in demand: we worked with him on numerous occasions as a guest curator and writer. And he was always available at the end of the phone for a quick steer on some research or a piece of professional advice. <BR>I remember ringing him up early on, some time in the early 1990s, back in the days when there were fewer prescribed procedures in New Zealand art galleries than exist today, with a query about whether or not to italicise a quote in te reo M&#257;ori in a book I was editing. ‘When would you normally use italics?’ he asked. ‘For a foreign language,’ I answered. ‘Is M&#257;ori a foreign language?’ he asked gently. Clearly it was not, and I had my answer.<BR>I visited him, a few weeks before the end, at the beautiful mid-century house in Meadowbank he shared with his partner, Paul Bushnell. I know I was one of many who came to the house over those days and weeks. It had been raining, and now the sun was shining, and the ground was wet and the air shimmering with heat. He lay on the couch, and smiled when he could. We talked about the past, and the future, and how to be a good teacher, and how to be a good student. When we said goodbye it was as if a rope had slipped from a mooring. I wish I’d been a better student; I couldn’t have hoped for a better teacher. <BR><STRONG>Dr Lara Strongman<BR>Senior Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu</STRONG></P> <P>I met Jonathan at university in the early 1980s, and was lucky to be there the first year he offered a paper on New Zealand art. Suddenly we were going to dealer galleries and writing reviews, and listening to Don Peebles and other local artists talk about their work. That’s when art history really came alive for me.<BR>Jonathan had many qualities, but when I look back, it’s his generosity that stands out. He was so tactful and encouraging, and he took such a keen interest in his students. It’s 30 years since I left the university, but in that time Jonathan has always found time to meet up and offer advice, and keep in touch. He had so much knowledge and insight to share, and his support was unstinting. <BR>Arohanui, Jonathan – I will miss you.<BR><STRONG>Jill Trevelyan</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan: I remember you as a passionate teacher and staunch advocate for everything High Victorian Gothic. You were a choral music enthusiast and, more recently, a scholar of contemporary M&#257;ori art. Not bad for an art historian! And whether it was the protocols of a formal welcome or just a friendly chat, you were always fastidious and deeply caring in everything you did. Many thanks, my dear man. Kia ora.<BR><STRONG>Jonathan Smart<BR>Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan leaves behind a wonderful legacy in that he cared for others, and he sought to bring out the best in people. Whether it was in nurturing a nervous, reluctant M&#257;ori fine arts student like me 25 years ago, or congratulating an Arts Icon, he was always there to support. Even in the busiest moments of his career, there was always time for an email of support, a piece of writing to promote an artist, or providing a network introduction. He was a wonderfully warm, kind-hearted, generous man, who possessed great wisdom.<BR>Kua mokemoke matou i to wehenga atu, Jonathan.<BR><STRONG>Darryn George (Ngapuhi)<BR>Artist</STRONG></P> <P>‘What is art history?’ These were the first words I heard Jonathan Mane-Wheoki say, more than 30 years ago. It was the early 1980s, and it was the start of my first lecture for Stage 1 art history at Canterbury University. Jonathan delivered these words with enormous gravitas, and we were all suitably impressed! We were right to be; Jonathan was an inspirational teacher who influenced generations of art professionals. He was a passionate advocate for art, art history, and the recognition of M&#257;ori culture within the visual arts.<BR>I’ve had an association with Jonathan ever since those student days. That’s what Jonathan was like; he took a keen interest in, and stayed in touch with, all his students. And while some of us have worked more closely with him over the years (once I started working in galleries, he became a regular guest speaker for public programmes, and at one time, I worked alongside him at Te Papa), no matter how close the connection, he remembered us all. <BR>Jonathan’s tremendous generosity and commitment to the arts community, throughout the nation and across a huge range of organisations, boards, and foundations, means that he has made a huge contribution to the sector. It is one that ensures his memory, alongside that contribution, will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who have been touched by his guidance. <BR><STRONG>Elizabeth Caldwell<BR>Director, City Gallery Wellington</STRONG></P> <P>Knock. Knock.<BR>Silence.<BR>Knock! Knock! Knock! (More urgent this time)<BR>I open the door. There is Jonathan in his pyjamas.<BR>It is 1983. Dunedin, a cold winter’s night. A motel just off the Octagon.<BR>The ARTH401 class field trip on New Zealand art and architecture was a highlight of our year at Canterbury University, when Jonathan would show students the treasures of ‘the best-preserved Victorian city in the world’. But students will be students, and long days looking at Lawson and Armson, Burne-Jones and Tissot were bound to be relieved by an evening of drinking games and dancing on tables in the wee small hours. <BR>However, the gusto with which my classmates joined in the noisy party was not matched by their fortitude at facing the music. So, when the knock on the door came, Linda, Robyn, Anne, and Sarah disappeared and left me to answer the door.<BR>‘Oh … hello, Jonathan.’<BR>Jonathan Mane-Wheoki was tour guide, teacher, mentor, role model, and friend to a generation of students and colleagues who have gone on to careers in the arts, academia, heritage, and museums. When we meet, I have found that his old students and workmates often recall our times together, and the man who in many ways shaped the people we became, whether that meant a telling-off, encouragement or some sage advice, or just a smile.<BR>Just a few weeks ago, Linda and I saw Jonathan for the last time at the Auckland Museum, where he received an award for his services to research. We stood up with everyone else and applauded him for what he had done for us all in the museum sector. But I suspect that we also cherished our own memories of the man which reflected the personal ways he had touched our lives.<BR>‘Now it’s late and we have a lot to see tomorrow … so it’s time to go to bed!’<BR>‘Yes, Jonathan ... sorry.’ <BR>‘OK. Good night.’<BR><STRONG>Associate Professor Conal McCarthy<BR>Director Museum and Heritage Studies programme, Victoria University of Wellington</STRONG></P> <P>I am not sure where I would have ended up had it not been for Jonathan Mane-Wheoki. I met him in the late 1990s as an angry and frustrated student at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, where I had been told that I was ‘delusional’ for refusing to make something out of my M&#257;ori identity in my art work. My retort went something like ‘And what will you teach me about M&#257;ori art?’, which got me an appointment in the HOD’s office. It turned out that I was in the wrong department, and it was in art history that I found the people to teach me something about M&#257;ori art, and something about myself.<BR>At that time, there were two M&#257;ori students in the whole school, but contemporary M&#257;ori artists were at the forefront of national discourse. Deidre Brown was teaching M&#257;ori art history from the pre-contact to contemporary period, Karen Stevenson lectured on contemporary Pacific art, and Jonathan’s axis had swung from neo-Gothic architecture to contemporary M&#257;ori art, with seminal essays such as ‘The Resurgence of M&#257;ori Art: Conflicts and Continuities in the Eighties’ (1995) and ‘Korurangi/Toihoukura: Brown Art in White Spaces’ (1996). He told me that he concerned himself with matters ‘M&#257;ori ’ because the work needed to be done. <BR>These teachers got me obsessed with the politics of museum practice and contemporary indigeneity, a subject that is at the core of my work today. Moreover, they encouraged critical debate about dangerous and volatile subjects and set a standard of scholarship that I aspire towards today. Jonathan always impressed with his breadth of knowledge and gave dramatic, absorbing, and utterly persuasive lectures in what could be described as an intellectual environment that was not necessarily sympathetic to his position. <BR>In recent days, I have read so much about Jonathan’s kindness and affability, and he was good to me as well. But he also played another role: he was one of my hardest, sternest, and most honest critics. While I loved being in his company, I also braced myself for ‘the comment’, which would turn me upside down and inside out for weeks afterwards. Jonathan also demonstrated - without words, but he made his point very clearly - how discrimination against M&#257;ori might be overcome: simply, by being the best. <BR>Wh&#257;ia e koe te iti kahurangi: ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei.<BR>Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.<BR><STRONG>Anna-Marie White (Te &#256;tiawa)<BR>Curator, The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakat&#363;, Nelson</STRONG></P> <P>I owe a great deal of my academic career to Jonathan Mane-Wheoki. He encouraged me to apply for a Bright Futures PhD scholarship (and, I suspect, was influential in my becoming a successful applicant), and he laid down a path in his own writings about M&#257;ori art that I relied on in the thesis that resulted. I read all his essays as a student, and despite scouring them for nuggets of information and interpretation, I am still returning to them a decade later and finding ideas and approaches that I missed first time round. <BR>I believe that our conception of modernist M&#257;ori art would be remarkably different if Jonathan hadn’t surveyed the field in his art history work, and our sense of what this history means for the present would also be unfortunately attenuated. As someone who has followed in Jonathan’s footsteps, and who has been enriched by his generosity and care towards me as a scholar and as a person, I acknowledge my various debts to him, and my thanks for all the texts he has left behind.<BR><STRONG>Damian Skinner<BR>Curator of Applied Art and Design, Auckland War Memorial Museum</STRONG> </P> <P>Jonathan was one of the most civilised and urbane people I have ever met. An inspiring mentor, he was unstintingly generous with his knowledge and wisdom when I first got to know him as my MA supervisor at the University of Canterbury. He continued to keep in touch after leaving Canterbury, and his support was instrumental in securing me a Creative New Zealand professional development grant to go to Europe (which, in true Jonathan style, became his idea all along). <BR>An incredibly patient and composed person, the only thing that I saw arouse anger in him was the demolishing of so much of Christchurch’s historical and ecclesiastical architecture following the Christchurch earthquake. <BR>There wouldn’t be many people with his practical knowledge of the whakapapa of contemporary and modernist M&#257;ori art. A rare combination of worldly and profoundly spiritual, an educator nonpareil, a sage counsel in the academic and professional spheres of the art world, and a friend. He shall be missed.<BR>Ave atque vale. Requiescat in pace.<BR>Kua hinga te t&#333;tara i Te Waonui-a-T&#257;ne.<BR><STRONG>Andrew Paul Wood<BR>Writer, curator, and arts consultant</STRONG></P> <P>‘You are going to do a masters, aren’t you?’ Jonathan said to me in 1981. It had never occurred to me that I had the ability. Thank you – for your faith in me, for the confidence you gave me, and the influence you have had on my life.<BR>Jonathan looms large as a life-changing force. I am who I am, at least in part, because of his input. I love art, I love McCahon, De Morgan, and colonial Gothic, I teach art history, drama, and religion, I search out Victorian architecture, I enjoy theatre and music, I understand the structure and aesthetics of the Anglican Church, I appreciate the bicultural aspects of art and life in New Zealand. These are gifts, the fruit of seeds Jonathan planted. I am immensely grateful.<BR>Jonathan, you will live on, in my memory and in the memories of everyone you have inspired.<BR><STRONG>Robyn Peers MA, University of Canterbury<BR>Teacher in Charge of Art History, Christ’s College, Christchurch</STRONG></P> <P>Without a doubt, Jonathan was the best teacher I ever had at Canterbury in the early 1980s. I have such fond memories of his courses; he was passionate about his subject matter, whether it was Victorian church architecture or modernist painting. As students, we respected Jonathan for his commitment to his classes, and yet he would frustrate us when we weren’t familiar with obscure artists such as Charles Allston Collins. It was all part of the learning process, and in hindsight good for us. <BR>In more recent times, Jonathan visited Tauranga, giving several talks and taking an active interest in the newly built public art gallery. Born in Tauranga, Jonathan took a special interest in the region and was always complimentary of the gallery’s profile. I admired his breadth and depth of knowledge as an art historian, as well as his ability to take up new challenges and not dwell on the same subject matter year in, year out. <BR>Always approachable, Jonathan was a gracious teacher and mentor to so many. <BR><STRONG>Penelope Jackson<BR>Director, Tauranga Art Gallery</STRONG></P> <P>I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Jonathan, a friend and former colleague for many years. We were both appointed in 1975 as lecturers at the University of Canterbury in the newly introduced subject of art history. We developed many courses together, bringing different perspectives, but we always worked with the same aims and with a shared sense of purpose. <BR>First and foremost, he was enormously hard-working, totally dedicated, an inspirational teacher and a generous colleague. His enthusiasm and the diverse breadth of his knowledge captured the imaginations of his students. <BR>One of the enormous pleasures we shared was bringing art history to the wider public through developing courses together in extension studies and giving lectures on exhibitions at the Christchurch Art Gallery. It meant a lot to me personally when he invited me to work with him again at Te Papa on lectures associated with particular exhibitions. <BR><STRONG>Julie King <BR>Art Historian</STRONG></P> <P>We have known Jonathan and kept in touch since being his art history students at the University of Canterbury in 1976. Jonathan has always impressed us as being equally committed to the wider community, as well as to the academic. His excellence in research and his passion in teaching was matched by his deep commitment to people and their personal growth, whatever their status or mana. Truly pastoral, even when under extreme pressure, he was always available to show personal interest in students. <BR>His lectures were always motivating. He communicated his intelligent insights and knowledge with oratorical passion and accessible language that opened doors and moved hearts. His passion for M&#257;ori art and Colin McCahon continues to inspires us. He supported those exploring the connections between Christian faith and contemporary arts. This made a big difference to continue our personal vision, along with other artists of faith throughout Aotearoa.<BR><STRONG>Peter and Jessica Crothall</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan was many things to me over almost three decades: a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, a fellow Anglican, but, above all, a friend. It all began at the University of Canterbury when he introduced me to the world of architectural history and the delights of Christchurch’s built social history; so much of it now lost. The result for me was a professional career in heritage. We shared a love of Victorian church architecture; one Anglican church in particular – St Michael and All Angels in Christchurch, which we both attended. <BR>I was on the board of Te Papa when Jonathan was appointed Head of Arts and Visual Cultures. I watched him successfully develop this area of the museum’s programmes and build another career. <BR>On his last visit to Christchurch, in June, we parted company on the corner of Hereford and Montreal Streets – I can still see him standing there with a wistful smile. Rest in peace, my friend.<BR><STRONG>Jenny May ONZM<BR>Architectural Historian</STRONG></P> <P>Haere r&#257, Matua Jonathan. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, great knowledge, and warmth.<BR>We met in 1996 when Canterbury Museum was exhibiting <EM>Nga Mahi o te aka o Tuwhenua: New Zealand M&#257;ori culture and the contemporary scene</EM>, a celebration of the innovative show <EM>New Zealand M&#257;ori Culture and the Contemporary Scene</EM>, held at the museum in 1966. Included in these celebrations were many artists from the original show, such as Arnold Wilson, Buck Nin, Cath Brown, Fred Graham, and Jonathan Mane-Wheoki. We immediately seemed to click and went on over the next decade to develop university art history classes ‘live’ from the museum collections. <BR>I still reflect on the wisdom of your words and practice: ‘M&#257;ori have little choice but to engage and interact with Western culture. But we are bound to do so in our own terms, with pride, dignity and humility, from our conceptual and historical perspectives, according to our traditions and customs, in our own time and at our own pace.’<BR>E ng&#257 mate, haere ki Hawaiki, ki Hawaiki nui, ki Hawaiki roa, ki Hawaiki p&#257mamao.<BR><STRONG>Roger Fyfe<BR>Senior Curator, Human History, Canterbury Museum</STRONG></P> <P>I met Jonathan when I was preparing for the 2008 International Art History Congress at the University of Melbourne, <EM>Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration and Convergence</EM>. Jonathan was a generous and invaluable colleague who helped us devise parts of the congress on indigenous art in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. He was a dignified intellectual presence at the conference, and there was a very special moment when he thanked Marcia Langton for her keynote lecture, demonstrating a convergence of views. We both dreamed of holding a global conference on comparative indigeneities. In successive years, Jonathan played an important role at different meetings of the Centre for Indigenous History and the Arts, whether in Melbourne or Johannesburg, talking about defining new kinds of art histories and presenting papers on M&#257;ori subjects – one being the first ever attempt to set out an overview of M&#257;ori art historiography. I only wish that he had written more and lived longer.<BR><STRONG>Professor Jaynie Anderson<BR>Foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Art History<BR>University of Melbourne</STRONG></P> <P>Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki was a trailblazer without ever meaning to be. In the world of art history here in Aotearoa New Zealand he forged new ways of thinking about art, from architecture to carving to digital work, writing from a strongly bicultural perspective. <BR>His constant travel away from these lands, usually with his dear Paul, allowed him to share his visions of art history with a wider audience, who regularly called on him for keynotes, most recently in Paris. <BR>For M&#257;ori – and especially for us Ng&#257;puhi – he was an inspiration, reaching the peaks of academia as a professor and as Head of Elam School of Fine Arts. Working with Jonathan and Deidre Brown lately on our research project <EM>Toi Te Mana, A History of indigneous art from Aotearoa New Zealand</EM> showed us what an important advocate he was for being indigenous on a global stage. He did so in his usual, humble way, with grace and honour and always with that quick smile of his. You will be missed by us all. <BR>Ko koe te rangatira mo tatou, ake, ake, ake tonu atu. Moe mai, takoto mai e hoa. <BR><STRONG>Dr Ngarino Ellis, Ng&#257;puhi, Ng&#257;ti Porou, MA (Hons), BA/LLB <BR>Senior Lecturer, Art History, University of Auckland</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan was at the University of Canterbury with me in the 1960s so it was particularly special when I returned there as the Ursula Bethel Writer in Residence in 2003 and Jonathan supported me at my powhiri on my first day.<BR>This was only one of the many times I saw Jonathan step up to support someone on a special occasion. He was always there when someone needed him.<BR><STRONG>Gavin Bishop, ONZM</STRONG></P> <P>I first met Jonathan in the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, we had a joust through articles in <EM>Art New Zealand</EM>.<BR>We reconciled with a handshake of mutual goodwill a couple of years later. <BR>Jonathan was a courteous, generous-spirited, tolerant person, a gentleman in the old sense, to which his suits attested.<BR>I last had a talk with him earlier in the year at the celebration of the 150th issue of <EM>Art New Zealand</EM>.<BR>He was quietly accepting of what was to come. Go well, Jonathan. <BR><STRONG>Dr Leonard Bell<BR>University of Auckland</STRONG></P> <P>About 5 years ago, Jonathan came to Dunedin and gave one of his inspiring, all-encompassing lectures on God, Darwin, the pre-Raphaelites, and more. We had dinner afterwards, and as I walked back to my car, I found myself feeling uncharacteristically sad, almost tearful. I was thinking about the 17 years that we had been colleagues together at the University of Canterbury, how he had been part of my day-to-day existence during that time, and how there was no one quite like him at Otago or anywhere else. And that was, of course, before we knew that we would be colleagues once more, only this time at Te Papa.<BR>He was an inspirational influence in so many ways. He impressed on me at university that the bottom line was the well-being of students and giving them your all. When you lecture, he advised, repeat key phrases, and I still do so. Jonathan always comes to mind with one such: ‘the pursuit of the irreducible essence’ applied to modern art. <BR>When I first arrived in New Zealand, I didn’t care for the gloomy, ugly, god-forsaken daubs of Colin McCahon. He still isn’t exactly my favourite, but it was a series of public lectures by Jonathan in 1990 than impressed on me how McCahon matters. Many years later, one or two of my students would comment in their course surveys: ‘Too much Colin McCahon!’ Jonathan chuckled when I told him this. <BR>Particular qualities with which I associate Jonathan (and I could choose many) are emotional and intellectual generosity, and aroha. He never, never spoke maliciously about people and was mercifully free of the pettiness and jealousy that are rather too common in the academic world. He always recognised ability and intelligence on the part of others and energetically encouraged and rewarded it, at the expense of his own published output (which was still impressive). <BR>He had a genuine liberalism about him, and while his own political convictions were definitely ‘left of centre’, he had a marvellous rapport with more conservative P&#257;keh&#257; and got them thinking. He made biculturalism appear reasonable, not strident, and never narrowly exclusive of multiculturalism. <BR>When we were preparing the first-year course at Canterbury, ‘Worlds of Art’, he said, ‘If I say anything you think is politically correct, do tell me!’ When I foregrounded M&#257;ori historical and political content in my more recent research and writings, he was always the first to support me. Few people will ever be as ‘good’ as Jonathan, but let’s remember his example and give it a try.<BR><STRONG>Dr Mark Stocker<BR>Curator, Historical International Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa</STRONG></P> <P>He was the most handsome man I had ever seen: brown skin, coal black eyes, and thick black hair. I looked him up in May, 1975, when I moved into same student complex in Mecklenburgh Square in Bloomsbury. <BR>In those days he called himself Jonathan Mané, and only revealed, <EM>sotto voce</EM>, his M&#257;ori roots. One day another M&#257;ori entered the London House dining room during breakfast and Jonathan, looking up over <EM>The Times</EM> and observing his ‘heart-shaped face’, said, ‘My people used to eat his people!’ I told him that he should be proud of his M&#257;ori heritage and embrace it. Nothing makes me happier than to know that he has done so in spades.<BR>We were post-graduate students at the Courtauld working on Victorian topics. Most evenings after dinner, Jonathan would invite me on a long walk to show me some obscure part of Dickens’ London before taking me to a Victorian pub with banquettes and colourful tiles. We formed a Victorian Society and went on gas-light walks, pub tours and other excursions. Pointing out Jane Austen’s grave to me in Winchester, he said ‘It is a pity she died so young.’ ‘What did she die of?’ I asked. ‘Writer’s cramp,’ he replied, dead-pan. He invited me to attend mass at All Saints, Margaret Street, designed by William Butterfield. <BR>We were all but inseparable until the sad, sad, day, December 5, 1975, when he had to return to New Zealand. I still remember the terrible feeling of loss as I waved him off in the black taxi. He said he cried all the way back to New Zealand.<BR>We have met about seven times since then: Toronto (his 50th birthday party), Ottawa, Balaclava (Christmas), London (our 25th anniversary), and New York (our first and last reunions). On 21 July 2005, as we left the hotel in Cartwright Gardens to walk to the Paul Mellon Centre, I asked Jonathan whether we should turn left or right. ‘Right,’ he replied, without hesitation. As we walked along Tavistock Place, we heard a huge explosion and saw a bus crumble and evaporate. Had we turned left we would have been beside it. I asked Jonathan if we should go back and help. ‘No, we should keep on walking,’ he replied firmly. ‘Where there has been one bomb, there could be another.’ Shocked and disoriented, we got lost in Bloomsbury for the first time.<BR>It was Paul who brought us back together for the last time about 4 years ago. We met in New York, had coffee at The Plaza Hotel and lunch at Bergdorf Goodman. Afterwards, I suggested a ride in a horse-drawn calèche. The sun shone through the trees as we bounced and laughed our way through Central Park. Then we visited the Frick to look at Vermeer, Holbein, Bellini, and Rembrandt. This time it was Jonathan and Paul who waved me off in a yellow cab. Thanks to Paul, I was able to speak with Jonathan over the phone before he died. I reminded him of the times we spent together, how important he was to me, how much he was loved, said he would never be forgotten, and asked him to stay close in spirit. He promised to do so.<BR><STRONG>Katharine Lochnan, Senior Curator, International Exhibitions, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan Mane-Wheoki was a true pioneer in the development of contemporary M&#257;ori and Pacific art and art history. He had a great capacity for creating new understandings in our cultural life and bringing people together in a healing way. A committed Christian, he planned the last period of his life with the help of his long-term partner Paul Bushnell. Jonathan worked through his final days and the last passage of life, which each of us must one day travel, with elegance and care. Over a lengthy period, he has given us much of his expertise, as well as being a model for our own times.<BR><STRONG>Dr Claudia Orange DNZM<BR>Head of Research, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa</STRONG></P> <P>Although expected, Jonathan’s passing still came as a shock. There was an immediate sense of loss. I would not see him again, sense his quiet but imposing presence, or hear that wonderful cadenced voice that gave to every utterance a gravitas and true feeling. <BR>My final memories of him over the past 18 months are of his bravery in the face of the inevitable, his determination to continue with the work he loved, and the duties only he could perform in the art world as long as possible. I detected no self-pity, just a concern to finish as he had lived, with thorough preparation and sense of occasion. He saw his death as an opportunity to celebrate his life and achievements, which were so many, and to share them with his many friends and colleagues, here and overseas. <BR>For me it is the man, the true friend, and the trusted colleague I will remember. Taken too soon, he nevertheless had completed his main work as a mentor, a scholar, a spokesperson for the arts, and a tireless advocate of M&#257;ori dom. He truly had mana that touched those who came in contact with him and will live on after his passing.<BR><STRONG>Michael Dunn<BR>Emeritus Professor of Fine Arts, University of Auckland</STRONG></P> <P>Jonathan entered my life in 1979 as a lecturer when I became a student at the University of Canterbury. Throughout my BA and MA courses, I was inspired by Jonathan’s unique way of teaching. His lectures are still memorable. He set high standards of himself and expected his students to do the same. Our paths crossed many times over the decades, especially when he was Kaitiaki at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery at the same time I held the position as Registrar, and, more recently, when I interviewed him for my doctoral thesis, in which he is not an insignificant figure. Jonathan changed the way New Zealanders thought about M&#257;ori art and making it relevant. His remarkable talent is alive in his many students as well as the universities, concert halls, art galleries, and museums he was associated with, and certainly in my life too.<BR> <STRONG>Dr Anna Crighton QSO JP</STRONG></P> <P>I knew Jonathan Mane-Wheoki only in passing before my being on the Marsden Fund Humanities Panel, which at that time he chaired. It was then, and on several later occasions in quite different circumstances, that I became aware of him as a rare presence. I don’t simply mean that he was an excellent leader and adviser to an extent one by no means can assume. Far more than that, he was a man of vivid integrity – open-minded, good-humoured, deeply informed, expansively generous. He liked people, and they liked him back. To say he was a man of principle may sound a touch too like a desired governmental outcome, but with Jonathan the word took on a compelling ambience – his quiet religious convictions, his cultural certainties, his inclusiveness. He was a man whose breadth of interests, his warmth to others, his seamless ease in two cultures and their traditions made me think, as much during the times I spent talking with him as, more reflectively, now that he is gone, Ah, so that is what a New Zealander can be!<BR> <STRONG>Vincent O’Sullivan</STRONG></P> <P>E te kuaka m&#257;rangaranga, tau atu ki ng&#257; tahuna o te taitamawahine, o te taitamat&#257;ne. Topa rere atu ki nga taumata rau o Te Taitokerau. E te ika takoto a Tiki, kauria ng&#257; wai tuku kiri a &#333; matua t&#363;puna. E te uri whakaheke o R&#257;hiri, takahia te ara nunumi ki Te Rerenga Wairua. E koro, haere atu r&#257;.<BR>He tohunga, kua kore. He kauri n&#333; Te Waonui-a-T&#257;ne, kua hinga. He p&#299;tau whakarei, kua tanuku. He p&#363;k&#333;rero i takina ng&#257; toi, kua m&#363;.<BR>He m&#257;tanga toi n&#257;na te kaupapa tikanga rua i whakatairanga hei whakaatu i nga toi a te M&#257;ori , a Te Moananui-a-Kiwa, a te P&#257;keh&#257;, a Aotearoa, otir&#257;, ko ng&#257; toi o te ao nui tonu.<BR>He tangata whakapono i mate rangatira ai. E te hoa pumau, okioki r&#257;. <BR>To the hovering godwit, fly, touch the sands of the eastern and western shores of the North. From there fly to the many peaks of the North. To the fish of Tiki, swim the waters where your ancestors once bathed. To the&nbsp; descendant of R&#257;hiri, travel the secret pathway to Te Rerenga Wairua (the place where the spirits dive into the underworld, Cape Reinga). Farewell. <BR>A tohunga (a knowledgeable man) is no more. A kauri from the great forest of T&#257;ne has fallen. A prized vessel has sunk. A voice for the arts is silent.<BR>He saw the arts through a bicultural lens and was able to promote, celebrate, and exhibit the arts of the M&#257;ori , the Pacific, of New Zealand and indeed the world to a New Zealand audience.<BR>He was a man of faith, who met his death with dignity. Rest in peace good friend.<BR><STRONG>Arapata Hakiwai<BR>Acting Chief Executive and Kaihaut&#363;, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa</STRONG></P>
Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014). 2009. Photographer unknown.

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014). 2009. Photographer unknown.

Isaac Gilsemans, &lt;EM&gt;A view of the Murderers’ Bay, as you are at anchor here in 15 fathom&lt;/EM&gt;, 1642. Alexander Turnbull Library PUBL-0086-021

Isaac Gilsemans, A view of the Murderers’ Bay, as you are at anchor here in 15 fathom, 1642. Alexander Turnbull Library PUBL-0086-021 ,
Tasman, Abel Janszoon, 1603-1659? :Abel Janszoon Tasman’s journal. Amsterdam, Friedrich Muller & Co, 1898.. Ref: PUBL-0086-021. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. National Library


John Webber, Poedua [Poetua], daughter of Oreo, chief of Ulaietea, one of the Society Isles, 1785, oil on canvas,
Purchased 2010.
Full object info is available on


Rita Angus, Rutu, 1951, oil on canvas,
Purchased 1992 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds.
© Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus
Full object info is available on

Colin McCahon, &lt;EM&gt;Victory over death 2&lt;/EM&gt;, 1970. National Gallery of Australia

Colin McCahon, Victory over death 2, 1970. National Gallery of Australia ,
synthetic polymer paint on unstretched canvas 207.5 x 597.7 cm National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Gift of the New Zealand Government 1978 © Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust

Peter Robinson, &lt;EM&gt;Operation: Do you speak Dutch (Dutch)?&lt;/EM&gt;, 1996. Photographed in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam by Sarah Farrar

Peter Robinson, Operation: Do you speak Dutch (Dutch)?, 1996. Photographed in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam by Sarah Farrar