HERE: From Kupe to Cook


11 Aug – 23 Nov 2019


Pātaka marks 250 years since Captain Cook’s arrival in Aotearoa with an exploration of the voyagers who were first to come here—Maori, Polynesian and European navigators.

Taking over four of the main galleries, HERE features works by many of our leading contemporary artists, including Dame Robin White, John Walsh, Greg Semu, Christine Hellyar, Rachael Rakena and Johnson Witehira. Their artworks convey the long and varied histories of South Pacific voyages—from Kupe to Cook. The exhibition title can also be read for Te Reo meaning of ‘a place to bind your waka’.

HERE begins with the epic journey of Polynesian navigator, Kupe, from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. Maungaroa is the punga (anchor stone) discovered in Porirua harbour and thought to be from Kupe’s waka. It’s our earliest taonga and a tangible link to the explorer’s connection to the region.

Current Exhibitions

The Dawn Raids – Educate to Liberate

19 Jul – 18 Aug 2019


The Bottle Creek Gallery at Pātaka is transformed into a Pacific Island family’s lounge from the 1970s. This nostalgic setting forms a backdrop for artworks, memorabilia, photographs and personal accounts of the Dawn Raids.

This was a time when Police and immigration officials entered the homes of Pacific Island people in the early hours of the morning, wanting proof of residency, work permits, and passports. The Polynesian Panthers, a political group that emerged during this time, fought against the unfair treatment, injustice, and oppression of Pacific Islanders and encouraged immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their human rights.

This powerful and insightful exhibition seeks to inform and educate about this period in New Zealand’s history and honour the courageous role that the Polynesian Panthers played in the fight for social justice.

Current Exhibitions


Cathy Tuato’o Ross: Don’t say it with Flowers


16 Aug – 15 Sep 2019


Award winning artist Cathy Tuato’o Ross explores the idea that giving flowers is a communication avoidance tactic, in her new exhibition Don’t say it with Flowers.
“Talking to florists in Whangarei, one of the most common reasons men come in to buy bouquets is “to get out of the dog box.” She says. “We have managed to empty most of the meaning out of the practice of giving flowers, but still have hopefulness in the gesture”

Cathy asks why do we give flowers? Is it because by giving flowers it excuses us from saying how we really feel? Maybe we find it hard to express our emotions or maybe our feelings are not the “right” ones for the occasion. Jealousy instead of joy, lust instead of affection, guilt instead of love.

For this series Cathy commissioned bouquets for imagined occasions. After photographing and printing she paints and draws over the image, leaving only the outlines.
“Instead of this process simplifying the image, it actually complicates it by adding an extra layer.” Painting out the details highlights the form and the image looks more like a diagram.

Current Exhibitions

Whiti Te Rā – The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira

Until mid 2022


From May 2018 Pātaka Art + Museum is proud to bring Whiti Te Rā! – the Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira back to Porirua after its showing at Te Papa.

Featuring unique taonga, the exhibition explores the successes, dramatic setbacks, and extraordinary resurgence of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, starting from Te Heke Mai Raro (the Southern Migration) 200 years ago when Te Rauparaha lead the iwi to the Wellington region.

The exhibition follows the progress of the iwi through their economic rise of the 1820s and 30s, and the bitter conflicts with the colonial government of the 1840s and 50s.

Current Exhibitions

Our Harbour – Te Awarua-o-Porirua
Children’s Interactive Gallery Space>


Using colourful wall murals and objects from Pātaka’s history collection plus lots of interactive games, this new children’s gallery explores what life has been like around Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour for the people and creatures who have lived here. The harbour has been a unique home to all kinds of birds, fish, insects and some animals for thousands of years, and to people for hundreds of years. Young visitors and their families can explore our amazing harbour through time and get a glimpse of what life was like a long time ago and in the more recent past.

Current Exhibitions