Arnold Manaaki Wilson
Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Arawa iwi (tribes)
Ahakoa ruarua noa o kupu i takoto
Anō te rite he whakatauākī te reka
I puta ai āu mahi tohungatanga
I runga i te tatangi o te kī.
Tirohia mai rā aku pewa
I taurite tēnei ka tītoko
Kei te ngaru whakateo
E tere atu rā i Ohinemataroa
Kia tū mai koe Parekohe
Me koe Taiarahia tāria ake rā
Kia rite tonu ki te mata rākau
He wā poto noa
Kia whakatau ake au
Ki runga o Maungapōhatu
E kore a muri e hokia.
Dr Arnold Manaaki Wilson was one of the pioneers of modern Māori art. Of Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Arawa descent, Wilson was the first Māori artist to graduate from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Arts. In 1955, he gained a Diploma of Fine Arts with first class honours in sculpture.
Wilson was influential as an artist, educator, and mentor. He was one of a group of artists – including Ralph Hotere, Muru Walters, Selwyn Muru, Paratene Matchitt, Fred Graham, and the late Katarina Mataira and Cath Brown – who became known as the Māori modernists. They were the first generation of Māori artists to engage with the styles and forms of international modern art, and to experiment with new ideas about the style and function of Māori art.
As ambassador, advocate, agent provocateur, educator, and exemplar, Arnold Wilson played a pivotal role in the positioning of such art in national and international forums.
– Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Elam School of Fine Arts
In 2001, Wilson received the Te Tohu Toi Kē Award from Te Waka Toi for new directions in contemporary Māori art. He received an Arts Foundation Icon Award in 2007 and, in 2008, an honorary doctorate from AUT University, acknowledging his work in education and the arts. He was a made a Member of the said Order (MNZM) for services to Māori and the arts in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.