Edith Amituanai's parents came to New Zealand from Samoa in the 1960s and settled in Christchurch, where a number of their relations still live. Extended family and immediate community are primary subjects for Edith, who collaborates closely with Christchurch and Auckland relations, as well as the individuals she grew up with in West Auckland. In particular, she focuses on a group of families who once lived in the inner city of Auckland and attended the Pacific Island Church in Edinburgh Street, Newton, Auckland.
Edith's is most drawn to portraiture, which typically falls outside of documentary photography. She also photographs interiors with no people present and then uses this interior as the setting for a portrait. Her photographs for the exhibition Mrs Amituanai worked across this portrait/interior divide by presenting both the rooms and people in the rooms.
Edith has been finalised for a number of Awards including the Trust Waikato National Contemporary Art Award, The Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award, Auckland,and the KLM Paul Huf Award, Amsterdam. Her work was included in the 2004/05 Break/Shift exhibition at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland in 2005 and later that year she was the youngest artist to have work included in the publication Contemporary New Zealand Photographers. She has participated in a number of high profile group exhibitions including Le Folauga (2007), Auckland Museum and Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan; Samoa Contemporary, Pataka, Porirua (2008) and The Sarjeant Gallery (2008); and Dateline: Contemporary Art from the Pacific, NBK, Berlin, Germany (2007-2008), Contact - Artists from Aotearoa New Zealand, Frankfurter Kunstverein,Germany (2012) and Freedom Farmers, Auckland Art Gallery and Someone Else - Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand & Landes Galerie, Austria (2013).
Edith was the inaugural recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award. She gained a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts. She is currently teaching photography at Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland.
"I have chosen Edith as the inaugural recipient of the award as I believe she has an exceptional talent. I particularly like the way her photographic essays portray people and places that reveal New Zealanders and all their diversity. She is a most worthy recipient of an Award that will support the development of the medium of photography."Marti Friedlander, 2007