Kaitiaki 2004

Steel plate

11805 x 5000 x 2000 mm

Edmiston Trust Collection, Auckland Domain Sculpture Walk.

In Maori lore manu (birds) were the tangata whenua, first inhabitants of Aotearoa, New Zealand and were regarded as kaitiaki (guardians).

Fred Graham’s kaitiake is a hawk. Kahu pokere (black hawk) are kaitiaki that feature in the oral histories of Ngati Whatua.

Kaitiake is a large imposing black bird commanding its place in the Domain. It looks across to Pukekaroa, a small scoria cone west of the museum. In 1940 Princess Te Puea Herangi planted a totara here to commemorate an 1828 peace treaty and settlement agreement signed by Ngapuhi, from the North, and local iwi Ngati Whatua.The Domain’s Maori name Pukekawa ‘hill of bitter memories’ refers to the battles fought by these two iwi.

Part of a project initiated by Outdoor Sculpture 2001 Incorporated to mark the new millennium with a sculpture walk in the Auckland Domain.

Special thanks to Rex Erikson.

Gil Hanly photograph courtesy of Urbis magazine.

Fred GRAHAM b. 1928 Ngati Koroki Kahukura

Born in Arapuni in the Waikato, Fred Graham began his career under the master carver Pine Taiapa.

As a young man he worked as an art teacher in Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Northland. During the 1950s he was trained by Gordon Tovey to become a national art specialist for the Department of Education alongside fellow Māori artists Ralph Hotere, Arnold Wilson and Para Matchitt.

He established himself as a full time artist in 1984. He visited Canada, in 1986, as part of the International Carvers Exchange and carved Eagle with a Salmon for Port Alberni, British Columbia. His work featured in the 1994 Te Waka Toi: Contemporary Maori Art exhibition, which toured the United States and he completed a commission for the Burke Museum, Seattle, USA in 1996.

Past commissions include artworks for the High Court and Botanical Gardens in Auckland and the National Archives in Wellington. He has also completed artworks for public libraries, city plazas and urban park spaces throughout New Zealand and abroad. In 2008 he completed a sculpture referencing the Walsh Brothers in Mission Bay and two artworks mark important waka landing sites on what was the original foreshore area near the corner of Queen and Shortland Streets.

In 2014 Creator of Forms: Te Tohunga Auaha was published; written by Maria De Jong, it provides a comprehensive survey of his work.

Graham continues to work on commissions for public and private collections.

Artwork Location