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Whare Tapu Taonga

Laurence Aberhart, Exterior Ripeka Tapu, Rangi Point, Hokianga Harbour, Northland, 1982.
Laurence Aberhart, Interior St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church, Pawarenga, Whangape Harbour, 1982.
Laurence Aberhart, Interior [Mary], Catholic Church, Lower Waihou, Hokianga Harbour, Northland, 1982.
30 Jul 2022 to 30 Oct 2022
10am - 4pm
An exhibition of photographs of Northland churches by Laurence Aberhart.
Event type: 
Whangārei Art Museum
91 Dent Street, Whangārei Town Basin


Laurence Aberhart has been photographing in and around the Northland area for over four decades. His series of images of Northland churches, begun in 1982, represents one of the most instantly recognizable and critically acclaimed bodies of work in New Zealand photography. ‘Whare Tapu Taonga’ is an exhibition drawn from this series, exemplifying Aberhart’s ability to capture not only the architecture of these buildings but something of their social and spiritual significance as well.
Aberhart’s use of an antique Korona view camera, last commercially manufactured in the 1930s, lends his work a sense of atmosphere and substance that perfectly expresses the feeling of stillness and reverence for the past found in historical buildings.
The observation has often been made that the people of the Tai Tokerau were the first Māori to hear the gospel proclaimed, and the first to take up Christianity in its various forms. This is why one encounters so many houses of faith throughout the North, where almost every hapū built their own church or temple.

Written by

Whangārei Art Museum

29 Jul 2022

Whangārei Art Museum is Northland's public art gallery, and the custodian of Whangārei city’s outstanding art collection. We host touring and internally curated exhibitions, and showcase artistic excellence in creative art practice throughout Northland, New Zealand and beyond.