Dame Robin White was born in Te Puke in 1946 of Ngāti Awa and European descent. After a short teaching career she began working as a full-time artist in 1973.


Robin's work has been represented in the collections of major public galleries in New Zealand and Australia and has represented New Zealand at a number of international exhibitions including the sixth International Biennale of Sydney and the first Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane.

Cup of Tea Bay, Luncheon Cove, Hodges Sat Here, 2016
Ceramic tile set of 3
430 x 880 mm, framed
Artist's proof

Following the coastline south, negotiating massive ocean swells – that was the way to arrive. I thought about what it would have been like for Cook and his crew to enter this place, leaving the “wide and wasteful ocean”¹ to explore the sheltered ins and outs of Dusky Sound.

I thought of the captain putting pen to paper to describe this magical place, and Hodges recording his first encounter with the drama of light and dark. What did they see, and how would they describe it? There is something deeply attractive in these acts of imagination, and this is what prompted the series of drawings which have been translated into ceramic tiles. I imagined them as talking points on some 18th century dinner table. This is what we saw…

¹Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1, and quoted in the lyrics of the song “Shoals of Herring”.

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