Ko Hiwi o te Wera me Kīha na pae mauna

Ko Wairewa me Haurepo na koawa

Ko Ngāti Manunui te hapu

Ko Te Umuroa te marae

Ko Tūhoe te iwi

Ko Asher Raawiri Newbery te rinatoi.

 

Asher Newbery, raised in Lyttelton, has had a lifelong passion for painting. After finishing High School Newbery moved to Palmerston North to study at Massey University. He attained a Masters of Māori Visual Art through the Te Pūtahi a Toi, Toioho ki Apiti programme. Driven by a love for his Tūhoe culture Newbery has exhibited across the country and can be found in private and public collections.

 

Drawing inspiration from 19th century Māori painting, Asher believes his practice is a part of a continuum of Māori art and his work, a duty to his Tuhoe culture. After his Father passed in 2017, Newbery returned to the South Island to be close to his family and care for the family home.  He continues to paint from his Lyttelton studio where as he describes, he ‘works to add to a Māori visual vocabulary.’

 

Newbery’s current work often involves astronomical notions of time and space and the difference between Pakeha and Maori understandings of this topic. Says Newbery”

 

His interest in this topic was sparked while reading Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s ‘Decolonizing Methodologies’ where she mentions that in the Maori language, ‘time’ and ‘space’ are translated into the same word, “wa”. My work is about whakapapa too, because painting is like whakapapa, laying down the paints on top of each-other”

 

In 2015, Newbery painted a group of 175 panels called “ Tatau Pounamu’ to commemorate each year between the signing to 2015. They were displayed in the Palmerston North Gallery and the White Room Gallery. The idea and moment of creation for these paintings began on August 22nd (2014 ) when the Crown delivered its official apology to the Tuhoe. Taonga were returned to the iwi and Newbery says “ I felt so touched, overwhelmed almost, it was an emotional time. “

 

Painting is  always part of a journey for Newbery, always connected with his whakapapa and iwi and part of a ‘process of forgiveness” for his people, the Tuhoe.

 

Drawing inspiration from 19th century Māori painting, Asher believes his practice is a part of a continuum of Māori art and his work, a duty to his culture. After his Father passed in 2017 Newbery returned to the South Island to be close to his family and care for the family home.  He continues to paint from his Lyttelton studio where as he describes, he ‘works to add to a Māori visual vocabulary.’