May 10 - 16, 2015: Issue 213


Outlook from Observation Point.


By George Repin

Ralph Hotere (1931–2013) was a New Zealand artist of Maori descent born in Mitimiti, Northland.  He is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most important artists. His work is represented in every major public and private collection in his country as well as in art museums in other parts of the world.

As a painter, sculptor and collaborative artist Hotere reacted to social and environmental issues through his work.

While not well known in Australia some Australians may remember seeing, when arriving at Auckland International Airport, the mural the Airport commissioned Hotere in 1977 to create in response to the theme of long-distance air travel and arrival. It was the longest public painting produced in New Zealand, being 18 metres long.  Originally titled The Flight of the Godwit it welcomed travellers arriving at the airport.  When the terminal building was redeveloped in 1996 the mural was purchased by the Chartwell Trust and placed, with the cooperation of Hotere, at the Auckland Art Gallery.  The artist then renamed it Godwit/Kuaka.

“While the mural honours and recalls the flight undertaken by the migratory eastern bar-tailed Godwit it sets up a metaphor in which the bird’s annual return represents our own travels and homecomings.”  From OUTPOST – blogs from staff and friends of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki 

In 1961 Hotere gained a New Zealand Art Societies Fellowship studying in England, France and other parts of Europe returning to New Zealand in 1965.  He finally settled in Dunedin in 1969 when he became the University of Otago’s Frances Hodgkins Fellow.

At one stage he went through a period when black was a major element in his work.

Hotere had a studio on land at the tip of Observation Point the large bluff overlooking the Port Chalmers container terminal.  Port Chalmers is the port for the city of Dunedin.  When the port’s container terminal and facilities were enlarged in 1995 part of the bluff was removed, including the area where the artist’s studio was located. Sculptures by noted New Zealand modern sculptors, which had been displayed in the studio, had to be removed and stored.

In 2005 the Hotere Foundation Trust with the assistance of Port Otago Ltd developed the Hotere Garden Oputae on the bluff and returned some of the sculptures to their previous home at Observation Point fulfilling the wishes of Ralph Hotere. Photographs, with titles, of some of these sculptures accompany this article.

In 1994 Ralph Hotere was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Otago and in 2003 received an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.

In the New Year Honours 2012 Hotere was appointed to the Order of New Zealand for services to New Zealand.                            

Pictures by George Repin in January, 2012


Observation Point - Port Chalmers

 BRICK COLUMN 1991 (Reconstructed 2006)

Artist: Russell Moses (b.1948) Palmerston North


Artist: Shona Rapira Davies (b.1951) Ngati Wai

ARAMOANA 1982 (Reconstructed 2006)

Artist: Chris Booth (b.1948) Kerikeri


Artist: Ralph Hotere (b.1931) Te Aupouri

Made from the fishing boat "Poitrel" built by Miller & Tunnage and subsequently destroyed in their 1984 fire

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants  Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre  Around Angkor - 1963  Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross The Oceaographic  Museum in Monaco  The Island of Elba Russian Fairy Tale Plates Meteora Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska Cloisonné Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories Not A Chagall! Did You Listen? Did You Ask? Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells Murano  University of Padua Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi  Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park  Aphrodisias  The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre  Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island  ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997

Copyright George Repin 2015. All Rights Reserved.