Tribute to Maori Art Anthropologist Dr Roger NeichDate: 29 September 2010
Auckland Museum paid tribute to its retired Ethnology Curator Dr Roger Neich, who died yesterday (27 September 2010), describing him as a leading world authority on Maori and Pacific art.
“Dr Neich was a much respected and loved distinguished colleague and anthropologist who specialised in Maori and Pacific art,” Auckland Museum Interim Director Sir Don McKinnon said today (Tuesday 28 September 2010).
“He was prodigious as a researcher and writer, and made a major contribution to the knowledge base and appreciation of Maori carving and kowhaiwhai art through a long and celebrated career. He will be sadly missed by his many friends here at Auckland Museum, and our thoughts and love are with his family, friends and former colleagues.”
Dr Neich had been extensively published and was recognised internationally for his work.
“He championed the growth of the Ethnology collections in his care and the development of recorded knowledge relating to them. The public face of museums involved intellectual input into innovative displays and giving his best each day to scholars or members of the public who came through the door.”
Born in Petone, Wellington in February 1944, Dr Neich obtained a BSc, MA and PhD. His fieldwork was carried out throughout the Pacific, notably in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and New Zealand. In 1980-1982 he undertook research at the University of California, Berkeley after being awarded a National Research Advisory Council Postgraduate Research Fellowship.
He was the Ethnologist at the National Museum of New Zealand 1969-1986, then became Curator of Ethnology at Auckland Museum in 1986, a position he held till ill health led to his retirement in 2009.
He was co-curator of the Māori exhibition at the British Museum, London, in 1996. In addition to his work at the Museum, Dr Neich was appointed Professor of Anthropology at the University of Auckland in 2000.
(download full career summary at the link below)
Phil Johnstone, Auckland Museum communications
Tel 306 7070 ext 719, 021 0279 6230