Auckland artist who painted two Māori women without their consent withdraws portraits from public sale

Yvonne Tahana
Source: 1News

An Auckland artist who painted two Māori women without their consent has withdrawn her portraits from public sale.

Te Karere's Oriini Kaipara was one of them. She wears a moko kauae and broke ground when she became the first newsreader with one, to present mainstream news.

She received Facebook messages last night asking if portraits by Samantha Payne were in-fact of her.

"Help. Someone is selling my moko. I’m not against artists, journos and whomever else using my image to promote our ao Māori and Māoritanga but selling MY moko for profit and for YOUR self-gain is damn disrespectful to say the very least," she posted on Facebook in reply.

Friends posted in support of the broadcaster, calling it "misappropriation" disrespectful and an attempt to sell "mana" without consent.

A second Māori woman, Taaniko Nordstrom, also had her image used in a painting - ironically, she herself is a portrait artist who photographs whānau.

Ms Kaipara told 1 NEWS that she'd be doing a live tonight with Ms Nordstrom on Facebook to comment.

A British immigrant, the artist has lived in New Zealand since 2017.

She did not return 1 NEWS calls however, the portraits were taken down on all of Mrs Payne’s social media platforms today.

Auckland Art Gallery's Māori art curator Nigel Borell said he felt like both women had been ripped off - because neither had been asked for consent.

"It's disempowering to the subject...when it's done without your consent. There's an ethical issue there."

"I think it's too convenient to think you can use someone's image, blissfully, without thinking about those actualities and realities around someone's image."

Art historian Dr Rangihiroa Panoho said it was tiring that these issues types of issues continued to occur over decades.

"We're talking about a vulnerable indigenous culture that has a whole history of colonialism, of imperial activity in this part of the world and we've endured a lot and I guess art is like a final frontier."

"This has always been the problem with modernism and artists that work outside of those communities. They have totally different values, individual orientated, often money, and the sale of the motif through their artwork is the primary objective and in that particular case it makes it really distasteful for the Māori community because this is not about money."

He also expressed some compassion for the artist.

"I would imagine Samantha is terribly distraught.

"If she's human like the rest of us she would probably be genuinely surprised and it's this whole issue about the lack of conversation that exits between Pākehā and Māori over these very important issues."