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Hone Papita Raukura Hotere, known as Ralph Hotere, was one of Aotearoa’s preeminent abstract artists. He was born at Mitimiti, Hokianga, and trained at Auckland Teachers’ College and, later, in an art specialist course at King Edward High School in Ōtepoti. His first solo exhibition was in 1951 at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Hotere then returned to the north, where, from 1952 to 1961, he was a school art advisor. Following overseas travel, he returned to Aotearoa in 1969 taking up the University of Otago’s Frances Hodgkins Fellowship.

For much of his life, he was based at Koputai Port Chalmers. Much of his work can be described as minimalist abstraction. He frequently uses words, often in te reo Māori. Much of his work has a political content: the Sangro series commemorates Second World War dead, among them his brother, who was buried at Sangro, Italy; the Algerie series was prompted by that country’s war of liberation against French colonial rule; the Polaris series was anti-nuclear; and the Aramoana series was conservationist.

A more extensive biography is available on Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

Te Aupōuri; Te Rarawa;
Aotearoa New Zealand;
Date of birth
11 August 1931
Place of birth
Mitimiti, Aotearoa,
Date of death
24 February 2013
Place of death
Ōtepoti, Aotearoa,

HOTERE, Ralph;

Nineteen Eighty Four

1984, 815 x 900mm, Corrugated stainless steel on board

HOTERE, Ralph;

Dawn/Water Poem II

1985, 1810 x 1810mm, Acrylic on unstretched canvas