Standing room only at Ralph Hotere’s Requiem Mass

A requiem mass was held in Dunedin on Thursday to honour the life and work of outstanding New Zealand artist Ralph Hotere, who died on Sunday.

There was standing room only at St Joseph’s Cathedral in Dunedin as about 400 mourners came to honour Ralph Hotere’s life and work.

Hotere, 81, who was a member of the Order of New Zealand, has been celebrated as one of the country’s most cosmopolitan and sophisticated painters.

Mourners heard of his diversity, depth, humility  and personal integrity.

Minister of  Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson told those at St Joseph’s Cathedral that Hotere was a great New Zealander and one of the city’s favourite adopted sons.

The artist, whose real name was Hone Papita Raukura, reflected his views on social and political issues, threats to the environment, apartheid and racism, in his works, Finlayson said.

Author Bill Manhire recited the words of a haunting poem: “The light is on at Carey’s Bay.”

Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC, described her long friendship with Hotere, which began when he was fighting to prevent the loss, through port development, of his land at Observation Pt in Port Chalmers. It was home to some of his treasured sculptures.


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