Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000); Tuffery Michel; 1994; FE010516


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Pisupo lua afe (Corned beef 2000)

About this object

Pisupo lua afe (Corned Beef 2000) is a sculpture of a small cattle beast. It is made from flattened corned beef tins that have been joined together with dozens of rivets. It was first exhibited in the landmark exhibition Bottled Ocean curated by Jim Vivieaere at the City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, in 1994.

New food, new word

In the 1960s, former Chief Justice of Samoa C C Marsack wrote that 'when Samoans were first introduced to the wonder of tinned food, this was in the form of pea soup. As no Samoan word can end in a consonant, they tacked an "o" on the end and made the Samoan form of the English term pisupo, pronounced pea-soup-o. As time wore on and other edible matter arrived in tins, the generic term pisupo was used for all of it. Now it is more or less confined to tinned meat.'


For decades, pisupo has been a prestige food item eaten and gifted at feasts, weddings, funerals, and other special occasions in Samoan society. In this artwork, New Zealand artist Michel Tuffery comments on how an imported product has replaced local Pacific Island foods used in feasts and gift giving. Like many artists of Pacific descent living in New Zealand, the wider Pacific and its history are recurring themes in his work. Through Pisupo lua afe, Tuffery asks questions about the effects colonial economies have had on Pacific peoples and whether foreign intervention actually encourages independence or fosters dependency.

See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/ObjectDetails.aspx?oid=235630


Tuffery Michel

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made

New Zealand

Medium and Materials

Flattened tin cans, riveted together


1150 x 2170 x 650 mm

Credit Line

Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from


Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.

This object is in 1 community


eHive copyright disclaimer

It is the responsibility of the eHive Account Holder to gain copyright clearance for any images or content published on eHive. If you are concerned about the copyright status for any content in eHive or would like more information on using or ordering copies of content, please contact the Account Holder of that content. For further information see our Copyright Claims page.