Tāme Iti corrects own name on artwork

By James Perry

Self-described 'artivist' Tāme Iti has filmed himself correcting his name on an artwork at a Wellington hotel, incensing the owner of the piece.

The artwork, "Tama performs in a New Zealand landscape' by Dean Proudfoot hangs in the QT Hotel in Wellington and depicts the long-time activist and artist. Iti posted a video to Facebook earlier this week showing him walk into the hotel and after admiring other artworks and enjoying a cup of tea he crosses out the word Tama from the text on the painting with red paint, and replaces it with Tāme. 

He says in the video, captioned Every week is Māori Language Week, he has always "'had raruraru" with people getting his name wrong. 

"People call me Tame [rhymes with came], Tama, somehow or another. It's such a simple name, Tāme," before the video, set to a mix of Moana Maniapoto's song A E I O U and Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre's Next Episode, shows Iti remove his coat and begins his correction.

However, Stuff reports the owner of the painting, Chris Parkin has called Iti's actions vandalism. 

Owner wants Iti prosecuted

In a text message, Parkin says it is "no different to someone placing graffiti on a building they don't own. I expect the police to prosecute him. They certainly would me if I went to Te Papa and vandalised an artwork."

Stuff says a police spokesperson has so far found no report that relates to the matter. 

Despite the calls of vandalism by the owner of the painting, social media users have leapt to the defence of Iti, saying if anything the value of the artwork has improved with the correction by the subject of the painting himself, an artist in his own right.

Twitter user, @frankritchie agrees with Proudfoot, who has acknowledged his error, and now believes the correction has increased its value. 

"The art is an even richer part of the Aotearoa New Zealand story now.

"And the owner can thank Tāme Iti for increasing the value of his investment." 

The end of the video shows Iti leaving the QT hotel, where he turns back to a staff member and says, "Thank you, have a nice day."