Art bankrolls Tame Iti appeal

Auction raises $80K to fight Urewera case

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 11:40 16/08/2012

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Jailed activist Tame Iti has the funds to lodge an appeal after a successful art auction featuring works from New Zealand artists raised $80,000.

More than 100 people registered for the auction at The Bizdojo Gallery in Auckland on Tuesday, with up to 200 viewing works throughout the evening.

Ninety works were sold including a photo by Jos Wheeler of Iti outside the High Court in Auckland.

The highest price of $10,400 was paid by actor and art enthusiast Manu Bennett for a work by Shane Cotton.

Other notable works included Te Whai A Te Motu by Tame Iti, created while he was in Waikeria Prison, Study of a New Zealand Flag by contemporary artist Billy Apple and an etching called Good Blood by John Pule.

Up to 120 works were donated in total and there was not enough time to sell them all, organiser Ninakaye Taanetinorau said.

Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Emily Bailey and Urs Singer were accused of running military-style training camps in the Urewera Ranges in 2007.

In May, Iti and Kemara were sentenced to two-and-a-half years jail for convictions including five firearms charges and possessing Molotov cocktails.

Organisers said Iti was ''humbled and honoured'' by the fundraiser's success.

In a statement he said: "If there is one positive thing to come out of my situation it is that it has unified people, and for that I am very happy."

Art and Objects auctioneer James Parkinson said the auction drew a lot of interest and enthusiasm.

"There was a great energy in the room and the bidding reflected how people felt about the cause."

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- Auckland Now

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