John Puhiatau Pule was born in 1962 in the village of Liku,Niue. He was brought to New Zealand by his mother when he was 3years old and grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.
Encouraged by Tony Fomison, Pule's painterly career began in aform of Expressionism before evolving in the early 1990's into theunique and engaging style that has defined his work over the last 15 years.
Pule combines elements of his Niuean heritage with facets of Christian New Zealand culture using a vocabulary of iconographic and symbolic emblems. While his early works may loosely resemble Niuean hiapo (bark cloth), it is the sense of narrative that plays a defining role in his pictorial work (as it is in his poetry and writing - Pule is a celebrated New Zealand novelist and poet), articulating questions about cultural translocation and the subsequent sense of dislocation: the question of what it is for individuals from one culture to be transplanted into another.
Over time, Pule's style of painting and lithography has evolved from compositions greatly influenced by story telling and often rendered in largely sepia tones (drawn from the colour range ofNiuean hiapo - but with the added effect of exacerbating the nostalgic sense of Pule's themes). Later work exhibits a greater sense of abstraction that - while still retaining its literary links - focuses more on the process of painting, the effervescence of colour and the compositional attributes of visual, rather than literary expression.
Pule has exhibited extensively, both nationally and internationally, since his debut show in 1988. His work is held in private and public collections throughout the world and in 2004 he was made the Laureate artist at the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.