Tāniko Intwined

I’ve always have had a love with the old cloaks our ancestors once wore. The workmanship and the detail of the tāniko is so beautiful and the designs are so compelling to me. There was a great variety of garments, including many kinds of cloaks. Clothing, adornments and even hairstyles showed a lot about a person’s status, and fine clothes (cloaks) could enhance mana. I love the fact that the cloaks were worn with pride.

These are some tāniko patterns that spoke to me, not only by there beauty but also fascinated by the person that last wore it. My first tāniko painting has a unique history belonged to a woman of high status who had considerable mana, Ruhia Pōrutu. Her cloak she wore was a kaitaka paepaeroa (fine flax cloak with vertical weft rows and tāniko borders). I loved the simple design of the tāniko pattern and particularly the story behind the cloak. I wanted to create something that was precise to that actual pattern and colour of the tāniko design, I’m pleased with how it looked and inspired me to paint more tāniko boarder patterns from the cloaks of our ancestors.

I’ve painted 3 so far and will continue to paint more. I’m looking at doing limited edition prints of these taniko paintings… I have orders already.

Ruhia Pōrutu - Ngāti Hāmua and Te Āti Awa

Ruhia Pōrutu - Ngāti Hāmua and Te Āti Awa

Tāniko of Ruhia Pōrutu

Tāniko of Ruhia Pōrutu

Ruhia Pōrutu was the daughter-in-law of Te Rīrā Pōrutu, paramount chief of Te Āti Awa in what is now central Wellington. She is seen here wearing her kaitaka paepaeroa, but the artist (Gottfried Lindauer) has placed it upside down so that the elaborate tāniko border is visible. In 1840 Te Riria's people were building a house for a New Zealand Company lawyer, and it was tapu while under construction. A newly arrived teenage immigrant named Thomas McKenzie unwittingly entered the house, breaking tapu. The chief was about to strike him down with his mere (club) when Ruhia threw her cloak over the young man, saving his life.


I fell in love with this cloak below, when I first saw it. After doing a little research I found out that Te Hapuku was Ngāti Kahungunu iwi... my iwi. When I realised we were connected, I had to paint it.

Te Hapuku - Ngati Kahungunu

Te Hapuku - Ngati Kahungunu

Tāniko of Te Hapuku

Tāniko of Te Hapuku

A little insight of Te Hapuku, who sometimes called himself Te-Ika-Nui-O-Te-Moana, was born in the late eighteenth century before the coming of the European to our region of Heretaunga. He was a chief of our Ngai Te Whatuiapiti tribe and his main hapu (sub tribes) were Ngati Te Manawakawa and Ngati Rangikoianake. He had kinship links within Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane, Ngati Ira and other tribes throughout the Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa regions, and was therefore very influential. His father was Kurimate, also known as Te Rangikoianake II, and his mother was Tatari of the Ngati Tapuhara and Ngati Hinepare sub tribes of Ngati Kahungunu.

In 1839 Te Hapuku visited the Bay of Islands in the Far North and on 25 September he signed the 1835 Declaration of Independence of New Zealand. In June 1840 therefore Major Bunbury called at Hawke's Bay to obtain his signature on the Treaty of Waitangi which had been signed at Waitangi on 6 February 1840. Te Hapuku and his two kinsmen, Hoani Waikato and Harawira Mahikai, signed the Treaty on or about 24 June 1840. 

With the coming of the Pakeha (European) government to our region in 1851 Te Hapuku established contact with many government officials and was instrumental in selling lands to the government. He was acquainted with both Donald McLean, the chief land purchase agent, and with the Governor, Sir George Grey. He used the proceeds of his land sales to establish farming, milling, shipping and other businesses to support his large tribe.

He was also the prime instigator of a gift of lands by our tribe, Ngai Te Whatuiapiti, to the Anglican Church for the establishment of a school to educate Maori pupils. Te Aute College was established by the Church in 1854.

Tureiti Te Heuheu - Ngati Tuwharetoa.

Tureiti Te Heuheu - Ngati Tuwharetoa.

This tāniko pattern is from a Kaitaka huaki (cloak with double tāniko boarders) I’ve painted the top tāniko pattern of this cloak and I’ll will possibly paint the bottom tāniko pattern another day. Tureiti Te Heuheu Tukino was a notable New Zealand tribal leader and politician.

Tāniko of Tureiti Te Heuheu

Tāniko of Tureiti Te Heuheu


Waitangi Day Dream

Celebrating Waitangi Day today makes me think of a dream I’ve dreamt for a very long time… to have a solo exhibition.

Last month I sold all four of my Waitangi paintings to a whanau living in Taupo. I’m so pleased they are going to staying together. The paintings that sold pictured below - Pātiki Matariki | Waitangi, Porourangi | Waitangi, Patiki | Waitangi and Pou Tangata | Waitangi… I think it’s a sign to paint them all.

I’ve painted 5 tukutuku panels in total, and as I’ve said in previously in my blog that I want to paint all the tukutuku panels in the Waitangi Wahrenui. I think this would be great platform for my first solo exhibition, hoping to to coincide with Waitangi Day next year, I feel would be a perfect time to exhibit.

I want to go to Waitangi Treaty Grounds in Paihia and research the tukutuku up close. I’ll paint all 18 Waitangi tukutuku panels bigger and in different colours. I’m going to try and make it happen


NZTaniko tile Space tees

Tile Space contacted me late last year wanting to purchase my NZTāniko painting, as you could imagine I was pleased, but’s then they come back to me asking that they to print NZTāniko on the backs of there Tiler Art Tee Shirts and offered to pay extra for the rights to do so… of course I agreed!

Such a buzz to be given this great opportunity, as Tile Trends have businesses nation wide and is great exposure for me : D


Nz + Kowhaiwhai + Taniko =

NZKowhaiTainko…. I admire Gordon Walter, but I don’t want to replicate his work. If I was to introduce the kowhaiwhai pattern, Gordon’s simple koru pattern is the only pattern that works well with my geometric designs.

With my first NZTaniko painting, I liked the simplicity of it. After painting NZTaniko I then painted KowhaiwhaiTaniko… later thought that the koru pattern would work well with my NZTaniko design, it did and I was really pleased with the end result : )



Kowhaiwahi Tāniko

Kowhaiwahi Tāniko



NZTaniko... the secound

Thought I’d have a play with my NZTāniko design this week and finished this painting yesterday. Posted it on my instagram page and within the hour a follower/family friend that’s living in the US bought it! Made my day : ) So I thought to not post this on my home page as it’s already sold. I’m looking at doing more of NZTāniko paintings in different colours and sizes… this design has really grown on me.

I’m calling this particular size nzTaniko…

NZTaniko - 300x300mm, Acrylic on board

NZTaniko - 300x300mm, Acrylic on board



This is a design I call NZTāniko... this is very different to what I usually do and how I usually paint. Inspired from a tāniko weave pattern and the 1974 NZ Commonwealth Games logo, I’ve always loved the retro design. I’ve collaborated the two designs together and I’m really pleased with the result. I was influenced by artist Gordon Walters colours he’s used shown in the New Vision book in the pic below… one of my favourite books.


Art Auction for our Little Sprouts

I feel honoured to be asked to take part in this great charity art event for Little Sprouts Charity, held at one of my favourite galleries... Pataka Art+Museum. Such a great charity, helping mothers in need with there newborn babies. I’m a believer in giving back to the community, as I’ve previously volunteered as a fashion stylist for Dress For Success for over 2 years… loved empowering woman and then later on men, preparing them for the workforce and hearing about their successes, was rewarding.

Also… out of the 80 artists that have donated, I’ve been selected to be one of the 15 special works selected to be auctioned off at the live event on the evening… so cool. Looking forward to being there and meeting the other artists.

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The Little Sprouts Charity Art Event is being held at Pātaka Art + Museum from 12 to 28 October 2018. 

For this event over 80 amazing artists from across the Wellington region are coming together to change babies' lives!  They have created special artworks and donated  them to Little Sprouts - this includes paintings, drawings, mixed media works, photography, ceramic art, textile art and more.

This incredible event features both an exhibition/sale and an auction evening.

Exhibition & Sale

From 12 to 28 October 2018 all art works will be on display at the Bottle Creek Gallery at Pātaka Art + Museum. 

The Exhibition is open daily and entry is FREE.  

Many of the artworks are for sale during the Exhibition.  Bids can also be placed in advance on artworks that have been reserved for sale at the Grand Auction Evening.

Grand Auction Evening

From 6.30 pm until 9.30 pm on Saturday 27th October a Grand Auction Evening will be held in The Spine at Pataka.  


Roimata Toroa




This is a painting I painted a nearly a year ago and it's finally time that I deleted from my work page, but I didn't want it to vanish forever, so I decided to put Roimata Toroa on my blog. I have this in my art studio on my tabl, I keep this close to me as it means a lot to me to have my Mother and Sister close, miss them much...

Roimata Toroa | Taku (My) Tears - This is inspired from a tukutuku Design, Roimata Toroa (albatross tears) has alternate parallel rows in vertical blocks, while in a similar Whanganui design was shown as tuturu (leaking water) or turuturu (falling raindrops).
In the Ngāti Porou story of how the kumara came to New Zealand, the ancestor Pourangahua left his wife on the East Coast when he returned to Hawaiki to obtain the tubers. There, his tohunga Ruakapanga not only gave him baskets containing the kumara tubers but also two sacred birds, to help him return. He instructed Pourangahua that he must give prayers of thanksgiving on his safe arrival back in New Zealand, as well as prayers for the safe return of the sacred birds back to Hawaiki, and for a bountiful kumara harvest. However, in his joy at being reunited with his beautiful wife, Pouranahua forgot his instructions. Later, he found the albatross birds weeping, their tears falling onto their breasts. One had been crying so long that its tears were just dripping, short tears. The other cried long tears - roimata toroa. Accordingly, for Ngāti Porou, the Roimata Turutururoimata turuturu design shows long and short tears. ➕ My tears are from the loss of my Mother and Sister recently, as they will never return.

(Tukutuku patterns vary considerably from iwi to iwi throughout the land. Certain designs are associated with particular iwi, some may have different names in different regions, or the names may be spelled in various ways. Many forms are related to mythologies, the stories about them vary from iwi to iwi)

400x400mm, Acrylic on board

400x400mm, Acrylic on board

Kete Aronui as a gift...

This is a birthday present I painted for a special friends birthday. I always feel nervous when giving a painting as a gift... glad she loves it. This is a birthday gift I painted for a special friends birthday. I always feel nervous when giving a painting as a gift... glad she loves it.

400x400mm Acrylic on plywood board

400x400mm Acrylic on plywood board

AHO TAPU O MATARIKI - exhibition

Aho Tapu / Sacred Thread showcases a wide range of weaving by both emerging and established artists. We have challenged these weavers to showcase their artistic objectives as we look towards the Māori New Year, Matariki, and to show us the directions in which the art of weaving is headed. The Sacred Thread is fluid and encases both the traditional and the contemporary.

This group exhibition includes works from Annabelle Buick, Cori Buster-Marsters, Anna Gedson, Katarina Hetet, Robin Hill, Jude Te Punga Nelson, Jess Paraone, Pru Robbie, Bernadette Ross, Sarni Scott, Laine Toia (Bespoke Weaving), Kui Topia, Riwa Wawatai (Art by Riwa), Justina Webster (Kohatu Creationz) and Sheree Willman.

My second group exhibition, celebrating Matariki at Kura Gallery here in Wellington. I feel privileged to be included in this exhibition with these talented  artists.

Curated by Hannah Amundsen

Footage of the opening night at Kura Gallery. Video created by Mathew Mason. (Turn sound up)




PATIKI MATARIKI | WAITANGI - This is my mahi that is on display at this exhibition.

I’ve called this Pātiki Matariki, as I’ve incorporated 7 stars in this painting. Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades. When it rises in the north-eastern skies in late May or early June, it signals to Māori that the New Year will begin. In one tradition, Matariki is the whaea (mother) surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-a-rangi and Ururangi... I’ve put Matariki in the middle of this painting, surrounded by her daughters.

This particular Patiki tukutuku pattern displays a group of star near the Milky Way known as the “Coal Sack” This pattern portrays fine weather and good relationships. Pātiki (flounder) designs are based on the lozenge or diamond shape of the flounder fish. They can be quite varied in the basic shape. According to Ngāti Porou tradition, the pātikitiki significance relates to being able to provide 100% - not only for the husband, or the whānau, but for the whole iwi. It acknowledges the fact that women were always looking for ways to supplement their food supplies, even in the dark when the flounders came, while their men were sound asleep. 

Inspiration from the Pātiki tukutuku pattern from the Wharenui at Waitaingi, I feel these tukutuku panel designs are special, as they don't only represent only one iwi (tribes) they represent all iwi in New Zealand. 


Patiki Matariki | Porourangi Poutama | Patikitiki | Pou Tangata


As I've mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to focus on the patterns of the tukutuku panels of  Waitangi wharenui . I've completed 6 paintings for the NZ Art Show, including these paintings Patiki, Porourangi Poutama, Patiki Matariki and Pou Tangata. Overall I have painted in total 5 tukutuku panel designs... I have 13 tukutuku patterns to go to complete the whole Waitangi collection... not sure if I'll do them all at once, but I'm sure I will paint them all in due time.

I want to dedicate my work to the women that made these beautiful tukutuku panels, I feel that they didn't get any recognition for there work. I've tried to find out who made the tukutuku panels for this wharenui, all I found was where the women made the panels, in Kaikohe not far from Waitangi. These unknown women that made these panels, I feel... were a part of keeping our culture alive, for generations these women were handed down the knowledge of making the tukutuku panels and the meaningful mythology/stories behind them from their iwi. Not only the women that made the panels at Waitangi... to all the women that have created tukutukus for there wharenui's, they all should be celebrated.



NZ Art Show

This is my first time exhibiting with NZ Art Show, 1-4 June 2018. Looking forward to getting myself out there for people to see my work... nervous too. I'm going to focus on painting the tukutuku panels from the wharenui at Waitangi, I feel these tukutuku panel designs are special, as they don't only represent only one iwi (tribes) they represent all iwi in New Zealand.                                                                                                      

- Te Whare Rūnanga (the House of Assembly) is a carved meeting house in traditional form but is a unique expression of its purpose. It stands facing the Treaty House, the two buildings together symbolising the partnership agreed between Māori and the British Crown, on which today’s Aotearoa New Zealand is founded.

The concept was proposed by Māori Member of Parliament for the north, Tau Henare, and Sir Apirana Ngata, then Minister of Maori Affairs, as a Māori contribution to the centenary celebrations. Carving began at Tau Henare’s home community of Motatau in 1934, and the house was opened on 6 February 1940 – 100 years after the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Meeting houses are symbols of tribal prestige and many embody a tribal ancestor. The head at the roof apex is the ancestor’s head, the ridgepole the backbone, the bargeboards the arms with the lower ends divided to represent fingers. Inside the rafters represent ribs, and the interior is the ancestor’s chest and belly.

Te Whare Rūnanga follows this form, but is not identified with any tribal ancestor. Rather, it represents the unity of Māori throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. This is emphasised by the main carving styles of iwi across the land being brought together – creating a remarkable gallery of Māori art, as well as a spectacular example of a central part of Māori social and cultural life.

This is my recent painting of the Patiki (flounder) tukutuku design, seen in the above pic, on the far left side of Te Whare Runanga.

This is my recent painting of the Patiki (flounder) tukutuku design, seen in the above pic, on the far left side of Te Whare Runanga.

Some tukutuku designs I'll be painting for the upcoming NZ Art Show

Some tukutuku designs I'll be painting for the upcoming NZ Art Show

Taniwha story...

Niho Taniwha - Waitangi, my recent painting was inspired from a tukutuku panel from inside the wharenui at the Waitangi treaty grounds. I’ve visited this wharenui years ago and I must admit, it was the most beautiful wharenui I’ve ever seen. With celebrating Waitangi Day recently, made me remember the beauty of this wharenui.

I made the decision to paint to a similar colour of the original tukutuku panel, which I rarely do... I'm pleased with how it turned out : )





This is a present for one of my daughters best friends, Millie's 21st birthady... a year ago! Millie moved to Auckland and Natalya told me to wait till Millie comes home for the holidays and give it to her then... Millie came back a few times, but we forgot to give the painting to her every time she came home. Then late last year we were to see Millie together, so I thought it was a perfect time to give her painting to her, but I forgot to varnish the painting and the pink paint faded! So, I then told Millie she has to wait... again. Nice to finally get it done and we are sending it to her after I varnish it, next week. Hope she likes it.

                                                   Whanau Ribs | 350x350mm | Plywood

                                                   Whanau Ribs | 350x350mm | Plywood

Kick starting my te reo

Thrilled to finally receive my books! Really pleased with how the cover looks and of course, nice to see my short bio on the back of the book! As the book says... A Maori Word a Day offers a  fun and easy way to start te reo... looks like I will be learning te reo this year! Looking forward to the next design of the of next book that will be published.

Taki Toru - 2017 -  400x400mm plywood

Taki Toru - 2017 -  400x400mm plywood

My Bio...

My Bio...

Day 10.... ataahua

Day 10.... ataahua

A MAORI WORD A DAY - illustration

The publisher from Penguin Random House NZ emailed me the week of my Mother’s tangi in August. Such a nice feeling to know, that I was chosen out of 4 different artists and the panel choose my artworks for the covers of the book, there are 4 in the series. The graphic designer stumbled across my website... my website was only up for a couple of months! Such a cool feeling.  I’ll have the description of the cover and a short bio of myself on the back of the book. I think it's time to learn some te reo... I'll be receiving copies of all the books, so no excuses!

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mana wahine exhibition

(This is a repost... as I'm new at blogging online, my daughter was so nice to show me how it's really done... kids come in handy sometimes ; ) This was first originally posted 1 June.)

Mana Wahine was my very first exhibition, I wasn't sure with the procedure at first when I entered this exhibition being my first. Hannah Amundsen was the curator of the exhibition, and was really lovely to deal with. Mana Wahine was my inspriation for my work. Each painting was inspired from 3 different technques of weaving that's sacred to Maori culture, they are traditionally woven by wahine (woman) and traditionally the wahine are the keepers of the knowledge of the rananga (weaving). Taniko, tukutuku and kete are all different methods of weaving that I linked together as one for the exhibition.

Working on Taniko

Working on Taniko

Have Taniko and tukutuku Kaokoa together..... now to paint Kete

Have Taniko and tukutuku Kaokoa together..... now to paint Kete



Ringarrehe Wahine (Skillful Women)

Ringarrehe Wahine (Skillful Women)



Mana / Commonly used as a marker of tapu or sacredness that takes form in people, places, and objects. A term created by the atua (gods) and associated with metaphysical force and spiritual power. The word itself does not translate adequately into English, but we can approximate its meaning by combining the ideas of prestige, power, and authority.

Wāhine / Used throughout the Pacific with slight variations, the term denotes the idea of the female aura or a collective of women, but it does so without expressing or suggesting gender roles and is therefore not defined by its English counterpart.

Mana Wāhine / With a literal translation of “women’s power”, one immediately imagines a superhero fighting crime — but it means so much more. It means embracing the intersectionality of being both female and Pasifika. It draws on thousands of years of indigenous knowledge and migration, resulting in a deep spiritual connection to the ocean and the land. In this contemporary world, mana wāhine belongs to indigenous feminism, cultural renaissance, and the forever shifting use of agency. Dr Teresia Teaiwa described agency as “the capacity of humans to act or to exercise choice; the notion that no human is ever completely powerless.” The mana and agency of wāhine throughout history have paved the way for us today.


I would like to dedicate this exhibition to the memory of Teresia Teaiwa, the founding lecturer of Pacific Studies at Victoria and the inspiration for this exhibition. Her teachings and poetry awakened me to the importance of indigenous voice through art.

Cultures of the Pacific are endowed with powerful female figures whose legends have been passed down through the generations. A lot of these mythologies are used as an influence for contemporary art works in Mana Wāhine, for example entities such as the Earth Mother, Papa. Steady remnants of her story have been carried with those who migrated across the south seas. Known by many names, her separation from the sky father created life itself, and we walk unconsciously on her belly, plucking food from her skin to sustain us. All humans are figuratively born from Earth Mother Papa’s womb, and return there after death. Mana wāhine is echoed throughout the Pacific history, and we drew on this as our inspiration for our collective exhibition.

The exhibition is centred on the artistic agency of a collective of Māori and Pacific women and gender minorities. We want to celebrate diversity in the Wellington art scene while exploring the different ways in which these artists experience and respond to their culture in times of globalisation. An aspect of this is the cultural renaissance, the rebirth, of indigenous knowledge in a postcolonial state. My ability to curate an exhibition dedicated to these concepts was in part thanks to the people I have met on this journey, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the wāhine toa (female leaders) who are at the forefront of the cultural renaissance at Victoria University.

The contributing artists come from different backgrounds and a number of them operate outside the fine arts canon. The works on show are a combination of traditional and contemporary, including painting, sculpture, textile, and video work. The combination of traditional and contemporary work allows us to observe different facets of indigenous art practices. An example of this is the Korowai — a feathered woven cloak made specifically by wāhine — which symbolises a deep connection to indigenous culture. Exhibiting artist Sheree Willman appropriates traditional styles of cloak weaving and depicts them on canvas with acrylic paint, combining both indigenous and European art practices, identifying a hybrid identity that is specific to Aotearoa, New Zealand. We can see a similar practise in Pacific artist Tui Gillies’s work, who utilises traditional Tongan tapa cloth and combines them with acrylic paints and mixed media. Her depictions of fefine/wāhine on these tapa canvases denotes connection to mythological wāhine such as Papa whilst addressing contemporary women’s issues through portraiture. This adaption to colonial histories and the intertwining of two cultures is a major theme with the exhibition, as these artists navigate identity in between two worlds, we are allowed a glimpse into their lives through their taonga.

After centuries of being classified as ethnographical evidence and used in “primitivism” movements, mana wāhine have begun to express themselves and in doing so are redefining their Māori and Pacific identities. In this exhibition we aim to create space for voices that often go unheard, while critiquing and responding to the ways in which women and nonbinary bodies continue to be oppressed and marginalised. So nau mai haere mai to the celebration of women’s power, indigenous feminism, cultural renaissance, and the forever shifting expression of agency.