John Pule was born in Niue and since 1964 has lived in Auckland. He is largely self-taught.
Pule’s art considers the Pacific; its mythologies, histories, colonisation, Christianity and migrant cultures. His work is often provocative, for example: Christ’s crucifixion revealed in his large-scale paintings as a sick, destructive influence on indigenous culture. Conceived and constructed from the imagery and material of tapa cloth, the artist’s paintings also acknowledge the dynamics of migration, procreation and settlement, and a vitality and energy that informs the artist’s and all Pacific people’s identity.
Pule has exhibited extensively in Australasia and been included in major survey exhibitions; Paradise Now?, New York (2004) and the Asia-Pacific Triennial (2006) at the Queensland Art Gallery (2006). In December 2011 Pule was given a major survey show John Pule: Hauaga (Arrivals) at the Auckland Art Gallery which ran through to late March 2012. In 2004 Pule received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. He has work in the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum of New Zealand. In 2012 he was awarded an ONZM (Officer of the said Order) for services as an author, poet and painter in the Queen's Birthday Honours.