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Māori artist and broadcaster Selwyn Muru dies, aged 86

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Māori artist and broadcaster Selwyn Muru, pictured in his workshop, has died at the age of 86. Photo / NZME

By RNZ

“He tai e! He tai e!

He tai e tangi ana i waho o Rehua,

He tai mihi tāngata, he tai mate!

Aue e kara Herewini!

Te reo poroporoiere o te ao pāpāoho,

Kua tūatia ki te moana o Rongo, Aue! Taukiri!”

Māori artist and broadcaster Selwyn Muru has died, peacefully surrounded by whānau.

The artist, from Ngāti Kuri and Te Aupōuri, was 86 years old.

His life’s work includes painting, sculpture, journalism, broadcasting, directing, acting, set design, theatre and poetry.

Selwyn Muru's works focused on communicating Māori pūrakau, history and injustices. Photo / NZME
Selwyn Muru’s works focused on communicating Māori pūrakau, history and injustices. Photo / NZME

In 1990, Muru was awarded Te Waka Toi’s Te Tohu mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Award for his contributions to Māori visual art, broadcasting, journalism and whaikōrero.

His works focused on communicating Māori pūrakau, history and injustices. His Parihaka series of paintings tell the story of Māori passive resistance.

One of his best-known works was Waharoa, a 7m-high wooden gateway that stands in Aotea Square in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland.

The aim behind Waharoa was to welcome and embrace manuhiri to Aotea Square, Muru said.

“I chose wood as a medium because it already has mauri (life force) of its own that would exude warmth in an environment dominated by steel, glass and stone.”

Tangihanga arrangements are yet to be finalised.



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