Ans Westra [Images]


Ans Westra is responsible for the most comprehensive documentation of Maori culture over 50 years of significant political and cultural change. She immigrated to New Zealand in 1957 and began her career in 1962 as a fulltime freelance documentary photographer, working mainly for the Department of Education and Te Ao Hou, a Maori magazine published by the Government.

In 1964 Ans provided the text and images for Washday at the Pa, a school journal made for eight-year-olds. The book followed a day in the life of a rural Maori family awaiting relocation to a state house in the city but was controversially withdrawn from circulation by the Department of Education following protests by the Maori Women Welfare League. Ans retained copyright in the images and the book was privately republished soon after by the Caxton Press.

Ans received a Certificate of Excellence from the New York World’s Fair for The World and Its People in 1964-65. She has received several Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council grants, which have been used to fund the publication of further works focusing on New Zealand and its society. Ans was awarded the Companion of the Order of New Zealand Merit (CNZM) for services to photography in 1998. She received an Arts Foundation Icon Award in 2007.

Suite Publishing issued an updated edition of Washday at the Pa in 2011, which also includes images from a subsequent (1998) series, Washday at the Pa Revisited. Ans' visionary new book,Our Future Nga Tau ki Muri, was released in May 2013.

Born 1936 in Leiden, the Netherlands, Ans Westra lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand.


Suite Tirohanga Limited acts as agent for Ans Westra.  Details of prints available for sale may be viewed in our secure online catalogue, here.  For further  information or to purchase works please contact David Alsop on + 64 4 976 7663 or