Wi Taepa

Wi Taepa

Putangirua Pinnacles II, 2021, clay, 155mm x 120mm



Wi Te Tau Pirika Taepa (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Āti Awa) ONZM is a master of Māori clay art, with a career spanning over 30 years.

In 2022 Taepa was a recipient of the Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours and was appointed as an Officer of the Order (ONZM) for his services to Māori art, particularly ceramics. Taepa has been at the forefront of promoting uku, the medium of clay, within te ao Māori since the mid 1980’s and is celebrated for his unique practice - his works are predominantly hand built using coil, slab or pinch pot techniques.

The artist has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition at City Gallery Te Whare Toi Poneke Wellington in 2012 and a retrospective in 2018 at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Taepa first showed his work at Sanderson in 2019, alongside Simon Kaan and Jon Tootill. In 2021, Taepa introduced a new suite of ceramics in Te Hā o te Marama, an exhibition presented in collaboration with Simon Kaan. Most recently Taepa presented Maumahara alongside Simon Kaan at Sanderson Contemporary in 2022 and Te Au in 2023.

BORN: 1946, Poneke Wellington

LIVES: Poneke Wellington

EDUCATION: Masters of Māori Visual Arts from Massey University, 2017; Bachelor of Fine Arts, Wanganui Polytechnic, 1999; New Zealand Certificate of Craft Design, Whitireia Polytechnic, 1992-1998; Māori Design Nga Hanga Whakairo, Massey University, 1997; Quantity Cookery, Māori Intensive Language course, Wellington Polytechnic, 1980; Penology, Acts and Regulation, Prison Staff College, 1978.

AWARDS: 2022 Recipient of the Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours - Appointed as an Officer of the Order (ONZM) 

PUBLIC EXHIBITIONS: Inakinaki: The art of Wi Taepa and Kristin O'Sullivan Peren, Curated by Gina Matchitt, Te Aramira Gallery, Frankton, Queenstown(2024); He Tonu Tenā Pea It Is Perhaps A Sign – Group Exhibition, Sarjeant Gallery Whanganui (May – June 2023);Toi Tu Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, (2020), Wi Taepa, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, (2018), Pātakā Art + Museum, Poriru (2016), Uku Rere, Whangarei Art Museum Te Manawa Toi, the Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, Tairawhiti Museum Te Whare Taonga o te Tairawhiti, Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science + History, Palmerston North (2014), Pātakā Art + Musuem, Porirua (2013), Papa Tipu, Expressions Whirinaki, Upper Hutt (2013). Wi Taepa, City Gallery Wellington, (2012), Ngā Toko Rima, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Poneke Wellington (2005), Kiwa, Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver (2003), Works in Ceramics and Bronze, Glenn Green Galleries, Santa Fe, New Mexico (2001), Chip off the Old Block, Pātakā Art + Musuem, Porirua (2000), Opening Exhibition, Kura Gallery, Poneke Wellington (2000), Rim of Fire, Pātakā Porirua Museum of Arts and Culture, Porirua (1999), Nga Korero Aotearoa, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt (1999), Kura Gallery, Taupo (1999), Clay Te Pai, Geoff Wilson Gallery, Whangarei (1999), BFA Graduation Exhibition, Wanganui (1999), Page 90 opening, Porirua Art Centre (1998), James Wallace Gallery, Auckland (1998), Haka, Bath, England (1998), San Francisco, USA (1998), CHACDS Conference, Palmerston North (1998), Uku-Uku-Uku, New Zealand Festival of the Arts (1998), Te Papa Tongawera (1997), Dowse Art Resource Center (1997), Major Sculpture, Porirua City Arts (1997), Patua, International Festival of the Arts ,City Art Gallery, Wellington (1996), 7th Pacific Festival of the Arts, Samoa (1996), Zimbabwe National Art Gallery, Harare, Africa (1995–1996), NZ Choice, Rancho Santiago College, Santa Ana, USA (1994), Contemporary Maori Art Exhibition, International Festival of the Arts (1994), Kurawaka 5 Maori clay workers, Dowse Art Museum (1994)

COLLECTIONS: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Poneke Wellington; Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Te Manawa Museum, Palmerston North;

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY: Barnett, Cassandra and Kura Te waru-Rewiri. Ki Mua, Ki Muri: 25 years of Toioho ki Apiti, Massey University Press, 134-153, 2023; Riddell, Baye. Ngā Kaihanga Uku: Māori Clay Artist, Te Papa Press, Wellington, 2023, 130-147; Rewiti Bridget, ‘In the Wake’ Art News, No.109 Spring 2023 p.22-23; McAvoy Emil, ‘Notable Accolades: Wi Te Tau Pirika Taepa’ Art Collector, Issue 103, January-March 2023; Stewart Olivia, ‘Maumahara: Wi Taepa at Sanderson Contemporary’ Ceramics New Zealand, Volume 6 Issue 1 2023 p.6-11; ‘Wi Taepa: Retrospective’, exhibition publication, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2018; ‘Wi Taepa: Retrospect’, exhibition catalogue, Pātaka Art + Museum, 2016; ‘Clay artist Wi Taepa’s retrospective’, Standing Room Only, RNZ, 29 April 2018; ‘A Hole in the Pocket (on Māori artists working with ceramics)’, by Bridget Reweti, The Pantograph Punch, June 2018

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