Wellington City Libraries

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Toi Aotearoa New Zealand Art


About our collection

Below you'll find some recommended titles on New Zealand art history and New Zealand artists. The library has some lending copies of these titles available, as well as (at least) one non-lending (reference) copy.

See also the libraries' Contemporary Māori Art & Artists page.


New Zealand art history:

Syndetics cover imageNew Zealand painting : a concise history / Michael Dunn. (2003) (Updated ed.)
"Tracing the main developments in New Zealand painting from colonial times to the present, this reference divides the paintings thematically rather than chronologically. The paintings cover the colonial landscape from 1840 to 1870, the later Victorian landscape from 1870 to 1890, images of the Maori from 1840 to 1914, and art in the 1890s. Information on the expatriates, regionalism and realism, modernism, neo-expressionism, later abstraction, and postmodernism is included. This fully revised edition includes a new chapter on Maori and Polynesian contemporary painting, as well as coverage of many new artists in both the historical and the contemporary sections." (Syndetics summary)

Contemporary painting in New Zealand / Michael Dunn. (1996)
This study explores the different perspectives that have formed the current directions in New Zealand painting, including neo-expressionism, recent forms of abstraction and colour painting, the "new figuration" and the bi-cultural contribution of contemporary Maori painting.

Maori : art and culture / Edited by D.C. Starzecka. (1996)
A series of essays on Maori art which starts with Maori prehistory and ends with the Maori collections in the British Museum. As well as art, history and culture are also discussed. Includes large sections on wood-carving and the fibre arts, maps and many colour illustrations.

Te Maori : Maori art from New Zealand collections / Edited by Sidney Moko Mead. (1984)
Aims to present an "overview, in photographs and authoritative texts, of the artistic heritage of the Maori of New Zealand and its relationship to their culture and traditions". The book was published to accompany a major exhibition of Maori art works which toured American museums after opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1984. The book is divided into two sections - the first contains essays on Maori art and culture - the second catalogues in detail the 174 objects that were shown in the exhibition.

Mataora : the living face : contemporary Maori art / general editors, Sandy Adsett & Cliff Whiting. (1999)
This text presents a comprehensive artistic, cultural and political statement about the state of contemporary Maori art. Includes the contributions of more than forty artists and writers, such as carvers like Tuti Tukaokao, fibre and multimedia artists like Aromea Tahiwi, Roma Potiki and Jacqueline Fraser, landscape artists and sculptors like Darcy Nicholas, Fred Graham, Emare Karaka, Robyn Kahukiwa and Michael Parekowhai, artists working in clay like Baye Riddell and Paerau Corneal. Packed with coloured illustrations of the artists and their work.


Into the light : a history of New Zealand photography / David Eggleton. (2006)

New Zealand artists:

Another 100 New Zealand artists / Warwick Brown. (1996)
A companion to '100 New Zealand paintings' which introduces more contemporary artists whose focus is in an area other than painting, including printmakers, photographers, assemblage and graphic artists. Preference has been given to what the author calls "senior artists", and, more specifically, to those whose work is deemed "accessible" and able to stand the test of time. The alphabetical arrangement again is very useful for quick reference.

Contemporary New Zealand art / Elizabeth Caughey & John Gow.
Four volumes have been published so far of this series, which the authors say "will offer readers an overview of contemporary New Zealand artists working at the end of the 20th century - a generously illustrated series covering the wide variety of media in which they work." Twenty artists are featured in each volume, with short biographies and colour reproductions of their work.

Useful Dewey numbers

Subject Dewey number
Computers & design
Art history 709
New Zealand Art History 759.9931
New Zealand art 709.931
Painters & history of painting 759
Painting techniques 751

Magazines online

Check out our Magazines on Overdrive and our Pressreader database for digital magazines which can be read on desktops, tablets and smartphones.

You'll find many popular titles on art -- have a browse!

Online databases

  • Index New Zealand
    Describes over half a million magazine and newspaper articles published in New Zealand over the past 25 years, including those on New Zealand art and artists. Index New Zealand is updated daily and approximately 3,000 documents are added monthly. Art New Zealand is just one of the publications indexed on INNZ... (more about Index New Zealand)
  • New Zealand Artists Database
    This index is a guide to material held in Wellington City Libraries on New Zealand artists. At present that means mainly painters, photographers, sculptors, and mixed media and installation artists, but as the database is expanded craft artists, jewellers, potters and architects will gradually be included. The aim of the database is to be a useful resource for the general interested reader and students at secondary and tertiary levels... (more about the New Zealand Artists Database)

More databases?

The databases listed on this page are a snapshot of just some of the online resources the library offers on the arts. Visit The Arts on MyGateway.info to browse more.

Contact us

This page is written and maintained by library staff. Our aim is to keep you informed about the New Zealand Art section of the library and to highlight parts of the collection which may interest you. Contact us with any feedback enquiries@wcl.govt.nz.

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