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.