Roger Blackley

Roger Blackley profile picture

Associate Professor School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies


MA (Auckland), PhD (Victoria)

Research specialties

My research focuses on colonial New Zealand art within a global context. I am particularly interested in the depiction of indigenous peoples, the history of exhibitions and museums, and theories and practices of collecting.

Another keen interest is art forgery—especially the subtle borderline that divides ‘authentic’ from ‘inauthentic’. For example, ‘ethnographic’ fakes are abundant in museum collections; while some are occasionally identified as fakes, many others pass as indigenous works when in effect they are European works of art.

Administrative responsibilities

Honours Coordinator 2018

Career summary

In 1983 I was appointed Curator of Historical New Zealand Art at the Auckland Art Gallery. Over the following 15 years at the gallery I organised a number of large-scale temporary exhibitions, including Tarawera 1886 (1986), Two Centuries of New Zealand Landscape Art (1990), Golden Evenings: The Art of Alfred Sharpe (1993) and Goldie (1997). Since joining Victoria University in 1999 I have curated two exhibitions for the Adam Art Gallery: Stray Leaves: Colonial Trompe-l’œil Drawings (2001) and Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait (2008).

At Victoria my research has increasingly focused on the intersection of art and ethnology, and the particularities of the New Zealand context within the broader history of art in the British settler colonies. In 2016 I completed a PhD thesis entitled ‘The Galleries of Maoriland: Māori Portraits, Ethnological Art, and the Culture of the Curio, 1880-1910’.

Current research projects

Galleries of Maoriland, surveying the ethnological art that flourished in New Zealand around the turn of the twentieth century, will be published by Auckland University Press.  
Māori objects and images of Māori were closely connected in New Zealand's art and collecting culture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the received art history of the period positions Māori as passive victims of colonialism, memorialised in galleries of the dying race, Roger Blackley’s research identifies the activities and motives of Māori participants within this culture. By exploring the intersections of art and ethnological collecting, and especially by including Māori as participants and agents, Galleries of Maoriland enables an enhanced view of the transactions of the colonial art world.

Colonial New Zealand Art. A longer-term goal is a history of New Zealand’s colonial art culture through the lens of the exhibition. Colonial artists deployed an extraordinary diversity of exhibition spaces, ranging from shop windows, hotels and church bazaars, to museums, galleries and international exhibitions. The exhibition is the point at which art reaches a public, when the work of art assumes a life independent of its maker. The exhibiting institutions also represent the infrastructure on which an art culture builds itself.



Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait, Victoria University Press and Adam Art Gallery, 2010, 40 pp.

A Nation’s Portraits, Gordon H. Brown Lecture/Art History Lecture Series 3, Art History, Victoria University of Wellington, 2005, 48 pp.

Stray Leaves: Colonial Trompe-l’œil Drawings, Adam Art Gallery and Victoria University Press, 2001, 32 pp.

Goldie, Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery and David Bateman, 1997, 200 pp.

The Art of Alfred Sharpe, Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery and David Bateman, 1992, 144 pp.

Two Centuries of New Zealand Landscape Art, Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery, 1990, 128 pp.

Albin Martin (in collaboration with Una Platts), Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery, 1988, 64 pp.

Chapters or sections in books

‘The Return of the Heads’, in Maria Teresa Milicia and Elena Canadelli, ‘Il grande laboratorio dell’umanità: il dibattito sulla repatriation dei resti umani tra storia e antropologia’, Contemporanea, XX:1 (January-March), 2017, pp. 126-131.

‘Taku Āhua i te Rākau Koura: Gottffried Lindauer’s Māori Portrait Commissions’, in Conal McCarthy and Mark Stocker (eds), Colonial Gothic to Māori Renaissance: Essays in Memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2017. pp. 189-203, 297-298.

‘The Mystery of Matoua Tawai: Fiona Pardington at the Govett-Brewster’, in Kriselle Baker and Aaron Lister (eds), Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2016, pp. 257-258 (first published Art New Zealand, no. 139, Spring 2011).

‘Te Pai o ngā Āhua: The Visitors’ Books at the Auckland Art Gallery’, in Annabel Cooper, Lachlan Patterson and Angela Wanhalla (eds), The Lives of Colonial Objects, Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2015, pp. 210-215.

‘The Plutarch of Maoriland: James Cowan and Pictures of Old New Zealand’, in Annabel Cooper and Ariana Tikao (eds), James Cowan and the Legacies of Late Colonial Culture in New Zealand, special issue of the Journal of New Zealand Studies, NS19, 2015, pp. 111-123.

‘Gottfried Lindauer—Eine neuseeländische Laufbahn’, in Udo Kittelmann and Britta Schmitz (eds), Gottfried Lindauer: Die Māori-Portraits, Cologne: Walther König, 2014, pp. 40-49. English version, ‘Gottfried Lindauer—A Career in New Zealand’, pp. 213-217.

‘Art galleries and collections’, in Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, article launched 1 April 2014,

‘Maori-European Interactions in Art’, in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. New York: Oxford University Press, article launched 27 October 2011.

‘Photography and the Ethnological Macabre’, in Angela Wanhalla and Erika Wolf (eds), Early New Zealand Photography: Images and Essays, Otago University Press, 2011, pp. 78-85, 179.

‘Cruising the Colonial: Newspapers and Shop Windows’, in Tony Ballantyne, Lachy Patterson and Angela Wanhalla (eds), Communicating Culture in Colonial New Zealand, Special Issue, Journal of New Zealand Studies, 2011, pp. 65-76.

‘Warren Tippett: “The Vessel Maker”’, Auckland: Centre for New Zealand Art Research and Discovery, University of Auckland, 2011, pp. 28-41.

‘Appreciating Ann Verdcourt’, in Greg Donson (ed), Ann Verdcourt Ceramics, Wanganui: Sarjeant Gallery, 2010, pp. 36-39.

‘Improper Moves: Maori Haka and Racial Destiny’, in Fae Brauer and Anthea Callen, Art, Sex and Eugenics:  Corpus Delecti, Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2008,      pp. 35-64.

‘Colonial Illusions: Australasian Trompe-l’oeil Drawings’, in Tim Barringer, Geoff Quilley and Douglas Fordham (eds), Art and the British Empire, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007, pp. 67-83, 370-372.

‘Historical Wellington: The City’s First Public Sculptures’, in Jenny Harper and Aaron Lister (eds), Wellington: A City for Sculpture, Victoria University Press and Wellington Sculpture Trust, 2007, pp. 52-61.

‘John Kinder and New Zealand Art’, in Ron Brownson (et al), John Kinder’s New Zealand, Random House New Zealand and Auckland Art Gallery, 2004, pp. 122-129.

‘Beauty and the Beast: Plaster Casts in a Colonial Museum’, in Anna Smith and Lydia Wevers (eds), On Display: New Essays in Cultural History, Victoria University Press, 2004, pp. 41-64.

‘Centennial exhibitions of art’, in William Renwick (ed.), Creating a National Spirit: Celebrating New Zealand’s Centennial,Victoria University Press, 2004, pp. 221-231.

‘Fisher, Archibald Joseph Charles 1896-1959’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Claudia Orange (ed.), Auckland and Wellington, 1998, vol. 4, pp. 176-177.

‘New Zealand: Painting and graphic arts, before 1900’, The Grove Dictionary of Art, Jane Turner (ed.), London: Macmillan, 1996, vol. 23, pp. 57-60.

‘Goldie, Charles Frederick 1870-1947’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, ed. Claudia Orange, Auckland and Wellington, 1996, vol. 3, pp. 179-181.

‘The Auckland Art Gallery’, Bronwen Nicholson (ed.), Gauguin and Maori Art, Auckland, 1995, pp. 32-35.

‘Sharpe, Alfred 1836?-1908’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Claudia Orange (ed.), Auckland and Wellington, 1993, vol. 2, pp. 456-457.

Articles and reviews

‘A Most “Vigorous Afterlife”’, review of Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope (eds), Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand: The Māori Portraits, New Zealand Books, vol. 27, no. 2, p. 15.

‘Working with Goldie’, essay in six-page gallery brochure, published online with illustrations, Nga Toi: Arts Te Papa, Off the Wall, issue 1, March 2013.

‘As Rembrandt Would Have Painted the Maori’, essay in Charles F. Goldie: As Rembrandt Would Have Painted the Maori, exhibition catalogue, Auckland: Gow Langsford Gallery, 2013 (ISBN 9780986463044)

‘High-priest of the Canon’, review of Jill Trevelyan, Peter McLeavey: The Life and Times of a New Zealand Art Dealer, Art New Zealand 148, 2013, pp. 106-08.

‘The Veblen Effect’, review of Warwick Henderson, Behind the Canvas: An Insider’s Guide to the New Zealand Art Market, New Zealand Books, vol. 23, no. 2, 2013, p. 25.

‘King Tawhiao’s Big O. E.’, Turnbull Library Record, vol. 44, 2012, pp. 36-52.

‘Travelling with Hodges’, review of Laurence Simmons, Tuhituhi: William Hodges, Cook’s Painter in the South Pacific, Art New Zealand 142, 2012, pp. 75-77.

‘The Mystery of Matoua Tawai: Fiona Pardington at the Govett-Brewster’, Art New Zealand 139, 2011, pp. 61-63.

‘Metamorphosis’, review of Kriselle Baker and Elizabeth Rankin (eds), Fiona Pardington: The Pressure of Sunlight Falling, Landfall Review Online, 1 September 2011.

‘A National Collection’, review of Mary Kisler, Angels and Aristocrats: Early European Art in New Zealand Public Collections, Art New Zealand 137, 2011, pp. 76-77.

‘The Stories Pictures Tell’, review of Richard Wolfe, New Zealand Portraits and Erin Griffey at al, The Power of Portraiture: Representing Leadership in New Zealand from 1840 to the Present, New Zealand Books, vol 19, no. 1, 2009, p. 15.

‘Cubist McCahon’, review of Peter Simpson, Colin McCahon: The Titirangi Years, 1953-1959, New Zealand Books,vol. 18, no. 1 autumn 2008, p.13.

‘The Twilight World of W. G. Baker’, Art New Zealand 124, 2007, pp. 64-67.

‘Where’s Colin?’, review of Christopher Johnstone, Landscape Paintings of New Zealand: A Journey from North to South, New Zealand Books, vol. 17, no. 2, winter 2007, p. 21.

‘The Shadow Maker: Gottfried Lindauer in Hawke’s Bay’, Art New Zealand 119, 2006 pp. 72-76; 91-92.

‘Erratic humanity’, review of Michael Dunn, Nerli: An Italian Painter in the South Pacific, New Zealand Books, vol. 15, no. 5, December 2005, p. 6.

‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, review of Icons Nga Taonga: From the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand Books, vol.14, no.3, August 2004, pp.7-8.

‘Forging On’, review of Good as Goldie by Karl F. Sim and Tim Wilson, New Zealand Books, vol. 13, no. 5, 2003, p. 19

‘Every Picture Tells a Story: Victorian Art in Australasian Collections’, Art New Zealand 104, Spring 2002, pp. 84-89.

‘Redefining War Art’, review of I was no soldier: An artist’s war diary by Ted Lewis, New Zealand Books, vol. 12, no. 1, March 2002,p. 8.

‘A Missed Opportunity’, review of John Gully, Painter: A Biography by Fred McLean, Art New Zealand 101, Summer 2001-02, pp. 87-88.

‘The Wandering Artist: Augustus Earle in New Zealand’, Art New Zealand 74, 1995, pp. 82-86.

‘Pacific Parallels: New Zealand Art in the United States’, Art New Zealand 63, 1992, pp. 80-83.

‘The Portraits of Joseph Merrett’, Art New Zealand 56, 1990, pp. 82-85.

‘Dear Linnell. . . Three Letters from Albin Martin to John Linnell, 1852-1853’, Bulletin of New Zealand Art History 10, 1989, pp.55-64.

‘The Greek Statues in the Museum’, Art New Zealand 48, 1988, pp. 96-99.

‘The Exhibitions of Maori Art in Auckland, 1884-1885: Documents of the New Zealand Art Students Association’, Antic 3, 1987, pp. 116-122.

‘Blomfield’s Terraces’, Turnbull Library Record, May 1987, pp. 9-16.

‘George O’Brien: Pavilioned in Splendour’, Art New Zealand 39, 1985, pp. 54-57.

‘Lance-Sergeant John Williams: Military Topographer of the Northern War", Art New Zealand 32, 1984, pp. 50-53.

‘John Guise Mitford: A Topographical Painter of the 1840s’, Art New Zealand 27, 1983, pp. 46-50.

‘The Continuing Demolition of Auckland’, Art New Zealand 25, 1982, pp. 18-19.

‘New Light on Alfred Sharpe’, Art New Zealand 7, 1977, pp.46-51.

Other scholarly writings

‘Earle, Augustus’, updated and revised entries in Grove Art Online, launched  27 October 2011.

‘Goldie, C(harles) F(rederick)’, updated and revised entries in Grove Art Online, launched 27 October 2011.

‘The Visitors’ Books at the Lindauer Art Gallery’, Whakamīharo Lindauer Online, Auckland Art Gallery, 2010. /

Art at Te Papa, William McAloon (ed.), essays on works by George French Angas (p. 70), John Guise Mitford (p. 73), William Beetham (p. 76), Alfred Sharpe (p. 96), Louis John Steele and Kennett Watkins (p. 100), Gottfried Lindauer (p. 101), Charles Blomfield (p. 102), Kennett Watkins (p. 103) and Charles F. Goldie (pp. 114-115); Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2009.

‘Christopher Perkins, Professor G. W. von Zedlitz’ and ‘Nugent Welch Evening, Oteranga’, in William McAloon (ed), Victoria’s Art: A University Collection, Adam Art Gallery and Victoria University, 2005, pp. 24-25, 32-33.

Guide to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, entries on works by Edwin Blair Leighton  (p. 39), Augustus Earle (p. 50), Alfred Sharpe (p. 52), Albin Martin (p. 53), Charles Blomfield (p. 56), Constance Gordon Cumming (p. 63), Jacques Carabain (p. 65), James McLachlan Nairn (p. 89) and Clas Edvard Friström (p. 97); London: Scala Publishers, 2001.

‘Surviving Goldie’, Pre/dictions: The role of art at the end of the millennium: Papers presented at the conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington 2-5 December 1999. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington Department of Art History, 1999, pp. 136-141.

‘Charles Frederick Goldie OBE’ and ‘Gottfried Lindauer’, in Susan Butterworth, The Suter: One Hundred Years in Nelson, Nelson: Nikau Press, 1999, pp. 26-27 and 36-37.