The exhibition On Going Out with the Tide explores McCahon’s evolving engagement with Māori subjects and themes in his works from the 1960s and 1970s. These works range from early treatments of koru imagery to later history paintings, referring to Māori prophets and highlighting land-rights issues.
Open daily from 10am – 5pm On Going Out with the Tide seeks to understand these works in terms of a tectonic shift in New Zealand culture—emerging biculturalism. It seeks to restore a historical context to the work, by understanding it in terms of the times in which it was made, as well as considering the ways it has been read subsequently. McCahon’s interest was fed by new resources on Māori culture, friendships with writers and artists, and the births of his Māori grandsons, Matiu and Peter (Tui). While McCahon’s interest in Māori culture sustained and consolidated longstanding features of his work, it also fundamentally changed it.