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Auckland Council

A Māori Figure in a Kaitiaki Cloak

Artist: Molly Macalister, 1967

Location: Quay Street

Materials: bronze

Today, A Māori Figure in a Kaitiaki Cloak appears as a traditional bronze sculpture, but when artist Molly Macalister created the monumental image of dignity in 1964-1966, she sent revolutionary ripples through public art commissioning in Auckland.

The warrior is clad in the prestigious korowai cloak of a chief. He gazes towards the horizon and holds a mere, a symbol of peace, at his side.

A pivotal work that demonstrates changing attitudes of the 1960s, A Māori Figure in a Kaitiaki Cloak was the first public sculpture in New Zealand to be commissioned from a female artist. Macalister's design met with considerable controversy, many arguing for a more stereotypical tourist image of a Māori warrior in a fighting pose.