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In a not too subtle way, I try to draw people’s minds into aspects of New Zealand which probably they haven’t considered

In this second part of the interview between artists Robert Ellis and Claudia Pond-Eyley, Robert discusses his early years in New Zealand, ranging from his realisation that the country could become an adoptive home, through to his wholehearted immersion in Maori culture. Robert candidly explores his wide-eyed fascination with Maori customs, and the ensuing efforts he made in understanding them by studying, working with and adopting their iconography, craft, architecture, and values. Robert points out the critical influence of his wife Elizabeth and her whanau (who have strong connections to Rawhiti) both in his work and his personal life and how his never-ending learning about Maoridom has lead him to declare himself, and, perhaps also by association his entire oeuvre, as proudly bi-cultural.

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