An acquisition highlight for 2008 was the purchase of two scultures by contemporary Maori artist Michael Parekowhai. Atarangi is an early work by Parekowhai, and demonstrates the maturity, wit and sophistication with which he burst on to the art scene some twenty years previous to this acquisition. Poorman, beggarman, thief (beggarman), from 1996, is another key work by Parekowhai. It is one of three lifesize figures in the series, each with the name tag reading, 'Hello my name is Hori', on the mannequin's lapel.
Foreshore defender is a powerful work by Maori artist Brett Graham. Its title refers to the 2004 government Foreshore and Seabed legislation which was widely opposed by Maori. The cast-iron sculpture may be read as a Pacific bat or a Stealth Bomber, each of which can be understood as protectors of land.
The painting Spring flowers by Cedric Morris was purchased. His work was important in the 1920s and '30s within British avant-garde circles. This movement is a collection strength of Te Papa and the painting would sit comfortably alongside Te Papa works by artists such as Roger Fry, Mark Gertler, Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash, Barbara Hepworth, and Henry Moore.
Other notable works acquired this year include James Bragge's 1870s photograph album, Wellington to the Wairarapa; tapestries by Malcolm Harrison; photographs by Anne Noble, Megan Jenkinson and Alexis Hunter; Colin McCahon's paintings Scared and Mondrian's last chrysanthemum; and Ranui and Untitled by Gordon Walters.