Artwork created from inside prison by controversial Tuhoe activist Tame Iti has arrived in Auckland to be auctioned off to help him pay some bills.
Iti, a renowned fighter for Maori rights, was one of the four people involved in the Urewera Raids in 2007. He, along with Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, is serving two and a half years at Waikeria Prison, south of Te Awamutu, on firearms convictions.
He is appealing the charges on August 22, and to help foot the growing legal bill Iti has painted an artwork to be auctioned off along with 40 other contemporary artists.
Wairere Iti, the activist's eldest son, said the work showed Iti was willing to give back to the community that has shown him support over the years.
"This auction is kind of an opportunity for people to see that, actually, he has kind of contributed quite a bit."
Wairere said because Iti did not have access to glue in prison, he had to make do with resources such as toothpaste.
Iti is not new to the art world, having painted his Maori influences on canvas for over 10 years, including a work inspired by the Urewera Raids.
When Iti expressed interest in being an artist, friend and curator Ngahiraka Mason told him to give up everything and "just paint".
"Of course, he didn't do that, but I'm quite impressed with how he's handling paint these days."
Mason said it was hard to tell how much the artwork would fetch at auction, but hoped it would reach $50,000, the expected cost of the legal bill.
The new artwork, titled Te Whai A Te Motu, will be auctioned off on August 14 in the Artist's Fundraiser Auction at Auckland's Bizdojo Gallery.
Artists who have donated works for the cause include Shane Cotton, Dean Buchanan and collaborative artists Cut Collective.