We’re building a spectacular new art gallery and making changes online.
The Arts Te Papa website will be shutting down soon, but head to Collections Online to find your favourite works from New Zealand’s national art collection.
Up Front gallery, Level 5Previous Exhibition
These four flower photographs commemorate the soldiers of the New Zealand (Maori) Pioneer Battalion who died on European battlefields during World War I and never returned home. They are from Michael Parekowhai’s series of 12 photographs, ‘The consolation of philosophy: Piko nei te matenga’.
Only 50 years after the New Zealand Wars between Māori and the Crown, Māori signed up to fight for ‘God, King, and Country’ as part of the British Empire. The Maori Battalion, formed in 1917, was the first fully Māori unit.
Most Māori soldiers were not conscripted but volunteered. Art writer Cushla Parekowhai has said they believed that military service was both a ‘sacred obligation and … an opportunity for adventure’.