Ngataiharuru Taepa

b. 1976

Also known as:

  • Ngatai Taepa

Ngataiharuru Taepa was born in Upper Hutt and is of Te Ati Awa, Te Arawa and Pakeha descent.

Taepa graduated with a Masters in Maori Visual Arts from Toioho Ki Apiti at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, School of Māori Studies, Massey University in 2003. After lecturing within the programme he became Kaihautu Toi Maori - Director of Maori Arts for the university in 2015.

An acclaimed innovator in contemporary Māori art, Taepa's impressive body of work combines (traditional) indigenous concepts with contemporary expression, particularly exploring kōwhaiwhai painting.

Taepa has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. His work is held in prestigious collections including Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and Auckland War Memorial Museum.

From a family of artists including, father Wi and brother Kereama, Taepa recalls conversation around the kitchen table growing up 'listen[ing] to people like Manos Nathan, Darcy Nicholas, Robyn Kahukiwa and Ngamoana Raureti. All these people were talking about the issues of the time. ... I have been really fortunate in that way and it's shaped my work and how I work. It inspired me and also gave me a little bit of knowledge, hearing about the struggles they faced as Māori artists, the different issues and how they have dealt with them.'

~ quoted from Huhana Smith, Oriwa Solomon, Awhina Tamarapa and Megan Tamati-Quennell. Taiawhio II: 18 new conversations with contemporary Māori art. (Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2002, 232)

See also:

Saffronn Te Ratana (Ngāi Tuhoe) & Ngataiharuru Taepa (Te Ati Awa, Te Arawa), ‘Te Hekenga Mai’ (1999), Massey University, Turitea Campus, Te Papa-i-oea Palmerston North

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2022