Wi Te Tau Pirika Taepa (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Āti Awa) is a master of Māori clay art, with a career spanning over 30 years. Taepa 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 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.
BORN: 1946, 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.
PUBLIC EXHIBITIONS: 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, 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, 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, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Te Manawa Museum Palmerston North, The Wallace Arts Trust
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY: ‘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;