Gavin Bishop’s work continues to push the boundaries

Gavin Bishop’s (Ngati Awa, Tainui) work features in many books in our living rooms and libraries and schools. He is dedicated to exploring key moments of our historic past and interprets these for not only children and young adults but for the wider whanau as well. He has published 70 books which have been translated into 12 languages and won numerous awards.

Gavin Bishop-2

Based in Christchurch, Gavin’s stories and accompanying illustrations provide strong role models for our tamariki, and recouperate tribal narratives in a way which is accessible to all. His early training was in a Diploma of Fine Arts with Honours in Painting (now called a BFA) in the 1960s, from which he moved on to gaining his Teaching Diploma (1968) and ever the student further degrees in Japanese and Art History through the 1970s. These provided him with a solid grounding on which to explore aspects of history, specifically Maori.

One of his most well-known are the Maui stories, such as TAMING THE SUN cover where he explores aspects of Maui’s life and adventures, using Maori designs to emphasise the stories’ unique role within Maori whakapapa. All designs have whakapapa behind them, and Gavin draws on this in their use in his works.

For more information see the Kete Aronui episode in which he features.


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