A plan for a show of early Maori contemporary artists at the Whangarei Art Museum has been boosted by the discovery of an important work by the late Pauline Kahurangi Yearbury.
Museum director Scott Pothan says the painting, Hatupu and the Bird Woman, was featured in a ground-breaking exhibition of Maori art at Canterbury Museum in 1966.
Waatea News reports it turned up at auction last month.
Mr Pothan says Yearbury, who died in 1977, and Katerina Mataira were the first Maori women to study modern art at the Elam School of Art in Auckland.
They both became art tutors in Northland alongside artists like Ralph Hotere, Arnold Wilson, Selwyn Wilson and Selwyn Muru.
The Whangarei Museum hopes to show its collection of northern Maori artists towards the end of 2010.