Poutokomanawa: The Carmen Rupe Generation


New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pukenga Whakaata

Start date: 

20 September 2019

End date: 

15 December 2019

Hours of admission: 

10.30 - 4.30

Cost of admission: 


Nicolette Page, Carmen 2012, oil on canvas, collection of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata

Poutokomanawa features portraits and stories of the transgender women of Carmen’s generation including Chrissy Witoko, Georgina Beyer and Dana de Milo, celebrating their role as poutokomanawa for the community. The exhibition celebrates a portrait of Carmen Rupe that is entering our collection.

Carmen is an iconic symbol of the Wellington transgender community. She was a well-loved public kuia, proprietor of iconic nightlife hot-spots, one-time mayoral candidate and HIV/AIDS activist, who played a central role in Wellingtons queer community.

Poutokomanawa, also known as the heart-post, is the central supporting pole of a whare. Figures like Carmen acted as pou tokomanawa for the community using their visibility and positions in the community to pave the way for future generations.

"I stand on the shoulders of people who went before me and now people stand on the shoulders of people like me.” - Georgina Beyer