A MAORI FIGURE IN A KAITAKA CLOAK
sculptured by molly macalister
The statue was commissioned by Auckland City in 1964 and completed in 1967. The 3m-tall figure is enveloped in an artistic interpretation of a traditional Māori cloak. The warrior looks to the horizon holding a mere, a symbol of peace, in his right hand. It was intended that the welcoming figure would seem to greet visitors and new settlers who, at that time, arrived on passenger liners that docked at the wharves in downtown Auckland.
When the design was first unveiled it generated widespread debate as to the form such a figure should take. Some politicians voiced their preference for a more traditional tourist image of a Māori in a fighting pose wearing a grass skirt. Macalister's is a more sophisticated design, representing the nobility and dignity of Māori in a majestic figure akin to Rodin's Monument to Balzac in Paris.
Molly Macalister (Invercargill 1920- 1979), sculptor, active in Auckland