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Kereama Taepa



Kereama Taepa studied for his Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University in Palmerston North, and continued on to gain his Masters degree. Taepa’s involvement in the arts have been broad and varied including bronze technician at the Dibble Arts Foundry and participating in various national Māori arts symposiums, workshops and hui, and has freelanced offering design services.

He has close to 2 decades of teaching arts and design at tertiary level, lecturing within Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Bachelor of Creative Industries Degree and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi’s Te Toi Whakarei Paetahi degree in the Bay of Plenty.

He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, and is held in collections across New Zealand and abroad. His design work is seen across Aotearoa also through brands and specialist campaigns. He recently exhibited within Nuit Blanche, Toronto 2022 and was also included in the major Contemporary Māori Art exhibition “Toi Tu Toi Ora”, Auckland Art Gallery, 2021. He has multiple public works across Aotearoa and unveiled his last public work “Tohorā”on the Kāpiti Coast, 2020. He is a Supreme Award winner of the Rotorua Art Awards 2017, the Molly Morpeth 2D Art Award in 2008 and recently received the Runner Up Award at the National Art Awards 2018.

In this body of work Whakairoiro,  Taepa merges two concepts that of whakairo and whakapī.

Whakairo encompasses the art of carving within Te Ao Māori. Its origins can be traced back to Tangaroa, the deity of the sea, and the tale of Ruatepupuke. Interestingly, its name is derived from that of the worm. Depending on the source, it may be referred to as a worm, maggot, or bug, but its essence lies in consuming wood. In another narrative, it represents a maggot that feeds on flesh. Through this process, it leaves behind intricate patterns, etching its trails within wood, cartilage, or other materials. Carvers seek to replicate this natural process in order to discover the ancestral forms hidden within wood, stone, or bone.

Whakapī instead considers the bee. Just as bees construct their hives by layering one upon another, this artistic practice embraces the concept of building compositions through additive processes. While drawing inspiration from natural phenomena observed in the insect world, it also extends its application to those who create through digital means. Across a wide range of creative software, the fundamental principle remains the same: compositions are assembled in layers, gradually forming a cohesive whole.



  1. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Certificate in Tertiary Teaching
  2. Massey University, Masters of Maori Visual Arts
  3. Massey University, Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts - Hons


      1. Whakapī, Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington
      2. Tāpiri, Milford Galleries, Queenstown
      1. Transmission, Object Space, Auckland
      2. Te Ao Mariko, Ramp Gallery, Hamilton
      1. Whakapī, Pataka Art + Museum, Porirua
      2. Insert Coin, Lift installation Tauranga Art Gallery, Tauranga
      1. Geo, Helium Gallery, Rotorua


      1. Kunsthalle Faust Gallery, Hanover, Germany
      2. New Works, Milford Galleries, Dunedin
      3. Toi Tū, Toi Ora, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland
      4. Kei te Ora Tonu, Toi Tangata Studio Gallery, Otaki
      1. Gathering Across Moana, Trinity Square Video, Toronto, Canada
      2. Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab in Civility, A joint exhibition event hosted by Smithsonian Asia Pacific and Auckland Museum, Silo Park, Auckland
      3. Scape, Temporary Public Art Exhibition, Christchurch
      1. National Contemporary Art Award (finalist and runner up award), Waikato Museum, Waikato
      2. Miles Art Award (finalist), Tauranga Art Gallery, Tauranga


      1. 2023: Poupou Matihiko, Parliamentary Collection
      2. 2022: 3D printed taonga (pou), Adidas, Auckland
      3. 2022: Shared Histories, Nuit Blanche Toronto, Canada
      4. 2020: Nuit in your Neighbourhood, Augmented Reality exhibition, Toronto, Canada
      5. 2019: Tauranga Pou Whenua - Bronze Public sculpture, Pāpāmoa Beach, Tauranga
      1. 2022: Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award 3D - Highly Commended
      2. 2018: National Contemporary Art Awards – Runner Up
      3. 2017: Rotorua Art Awards - Supreme Award Winner
      4. 2008: Molly Morpeth Canaday Open Art Award - Major Award Winner