John Bevan Ford

b. 1930d. 2005

John Bevan Ford was born in Ōtautahi Christchurch, of Ngāti Raukawa Ki Kapiti descent. He moved to Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, as a teenager. Ford studied first at Wellington and then Dunedin Teachers' College, specialising in art education. Influenced by Gordon Tovey, Ford worked as district schools advisor on Māori art and craft between 1952 and 1969.

He moved to the Waikato to work at the Hamilton Teachers' College in the 1960s and at this time also began exhibiting. Over the following 20 years he became a leading figure in contemporary Māori art, garnering a reputation as a skilled carver and champion for arts education.

In 1973 he was part of the establishment of Māori Artists and Writers’ Association (Nga Puna Waihanga).

In the mid-1970s Ford took up a teaching position at Massey University in Te Papa-i-Oea Palmerston North, working there until his retirement from academia in 1988.

In 2005 Ford received a Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Kingi Ihaka Award acknowledging his contribution to Māori art and education.

See also:

John Bevan Ford (Ngāti Raukawa Ki Kapiti), ‘Kaitiaki figure’ (1995), Lincoln University, Ōtautahi Christchurch

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021