Cave Art Images from New Zealand

Maori cave painting

We are pleased that Max Wisshak has added his New Zealand cave art images to the Ancient Art Archive Photo archive [here].

New Zealand is one of the last major land masses to be explored and permanently settled by human beings. In many ways it represents the pinnacle of human terrestrial exploration and expansion.

Weka Pass pictographs, New Zealand photo by Max Wisshak

Of course, the original settlers of what is now called New Zealand made artwork on the landscape. The images record parts of their belief systems as well as animals now extinct including the Haarst Eagle, one of the largest true raptors.

A Haast’s Eagle -one of the largest known true raptors. The Haast’s Eagle has been extinct for approximately 500 years.

Max Wisshak, based in Germany, holds a PhD in geology/paleontology and works as a geoscientist in the fields of marine research and speleology. A passionate cave explorer for two decades, his focus is on cave cartography, speleothem geochemistry, and underground photography. As a karst & cave photographer, Max is best renowned for his quality coffee-table books Inside Mother Earth (2008) and New Zealand Karst (2020), the latter realized together with his wife Stefanie and under his own publishing label speleo-photo editions.

The photos in this collection show some examples of the splendid New Zealand Māori rock art crafted in the first half of the past millennium. Most of these photos are featured also in a chapter dedicated to this topic in Max’s book New Zealand Karst.


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