Just Robin White

Artist Dame Robin White with her work at Pataka.

Dame Robin White's artwork "Ko e Hala Hangatonu: The Straight Path" is 25 metres long. It runs, in a copper-coloured avenue of painted tapa, at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures in Porirua. It is White's most ambitious artwork and took two years to complete. She created it in collaboration with young Tongan artist Ruha Fifita and a community of other Tongan women.

{josquote}...it could equally reference White's undeviating Baha'i faith, coupled with an irregular life path.{/josquote}

The Straight Path, with its hand-worked patterns, relates to a world journey – but it could equally reference White's undeviating Baha'i faith, coupled with an irregular life path.

Pataka is close to where White taught art at Mana College after her "golden years" at Elam School of Fine Arts. It is also close to where she lived, as a teacher, as part of one of the country's wildest early conglomerations of young idealists and intellectuals.

Poet Sam Hunt was there at Bottle Creek, Paremata, not far from her corrugated iron shack, and so was the late historian Michael King along with unfurling wordsmiths Jack Lasenby, Fleur Adcock and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. They came and went, loved, discussed and created their way through the late 1960s and 1970s.

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