Controversial artwork 'de-installed'

A haka  by  children of the Ka Puanani  O Te Reo (centre left) formed part of the  ceremony ...
A haka by children of the Ka Puanani O Te Reo (centre left) formed part of the ceremony marking the end of the Haka Peep Show artwork's stay in the Octagon yesterday. Photo by Jane Dawber.

The controversial artwork Haka Peep Show, situated in the Octagon for the Rugby World Cup, was officially "de-installed" at a ceremony yesterday, but the work is likely to be seen again in other settings.

Dunedin City Council community development committee chairman Cr Bill Acklin said there had been "quite a bit of interest" in the installation from a variety of groups including some "beyond New Zealand as well - watch this space".

In the meantime, the work would be stored by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and "a little maintenance" carried out before it went out again, he said.

The work, by artist Rachael Rakena, in the shape of a Rexona deodorant container connected to the All Blacks, was a towering black pou [post or pillar] housing 3-D video works of art featuring four haka performed by prominent Maori.

It attracted $50,000 of Dunedin City Council funding, and $80,000 from Ngai Tahu, and, Rakena said, considered "the sexualisation and commodification of Maori and indigenous sportsmen through the use and exploitation of their masculinity and their culture in the media".

The work generated a local political storm, with the cost and the secrecy surrounding the work stretching city councillors' relationships.




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