"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

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.

Hendo, 2011, pigment injet print, 67.5 x 87.2cm.
From the Exhibition Edith Amituanai: At the end of my drive.
Image courtesy Robert Heald Gallery


In this article, which appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 26 October 2008, Edith Amituanai (then aged 28) talks to Rose Hoare. At the time, Edith was one of four finalists for the lucrative Walters Prize, which was about to be announced.
An essay by Anna Sanderson from 'Contemporary New Zealand Photographers'. Edited by Hannah Holm & Lara Strongman (Mountain View Publishing).


Edith Amituanai on Tagata Pasifika (TVNZ1) - one of the artists chosen for the prestigious Walters Prize for Déjeuner 2007 Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland.


La Fine del Mondo is a series of portraits of a Burmese refugee family in Massey, Auckland
Stories of migration are prominent in Edith’s photographs, as is seen in the story of the migration of her own family in the ‘Déjeuner' series.
From the series Mrs Amituanai.
  Born Christchurch, New Zealand
  Finalist, Trust Waikato Art Award, Waikato Museum of Art and History
Finalist, Team McMillan BMW Art Award, Auckland; Bachelor of design, Majoring in photography, Auckland, Unitech; 1st solo exhibition Mrs Armituanai at Anna Miles Gallery; Included in Contemporary New Zealand Photographers publication
Finalist, Martin Hughes Contemporary Pacific Art Award, Auckland; Mrs Armituanai exhibited - Wellington City Gallery in 2 x 2 Contemporary Projects
Exhibited Auckland Museum, Auckland Art Gallery and NBK Berlin; Inaugural Marti Friedlander Photographic Award recipient; Finalist, KLM Paul Huf Award, Amsterdam; Exhibits Dejeuner, Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland
Walters Prize finalist, Auckland Art Gallery; University of Auckland Arts & Cultural Blue Award
Recipient of the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award
Exhibits La fine del mondo, NZ Film Archive, Wellington; Sovereign Asian Art Prize Nominee; University of Auckland Maori and Pacific Graduate Scholarship
Exhibits La fine del mondo,  Corbans Estate, Waitakere City
Contact - Artists from Aotearoa New Zealand, Frankfurter Kunstverein,Germany
Freedom Farmers, Auckland Art Gallery and Someone Else - Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand & Landes Galerie, Austria