Past Events

Uku Rere Panel Discussion

16 May 2015

Uku Rere Panel Discussion
Saturday, May 16, 2015 - 2:00pm

Maori ceramicists Colleen Urlich, Wi Taepa and Paerau Corneal will take part in an interactive panel discussion at the Tauranga Art Gallery on Saturday, May 16 starting at 2.00pm.  

It will be a discussion around the exhibition Uku Rere, which opens at the Gallery on May 15, and Maori clay makers collective Nga Kaihanga Uku.
The speakers are all artists represented in the exhibition. Julie Paama-Pengelly (Ngaiterangi) from Art + Body Studio in Mount Maunganui will chair the panel discussion and ask the artists questions about their work and the exhibition. It will be an interactive session and questions from the audience are most welcome. 
Tauranga Art Gallery is the last venue to host Uku Rere, which is a groundbreaking exhibition showing ceramics by the five principal members of Nga Kaihanga Uku: Baye Riddell, Manos Nathan, Colleen Urlich, Wi Taepa and Paerau Corneal.
Uku Rere tells the story of Nga Kaihanga Uku from its beginnings in relation to Maori mythology and the stories that have followed since.
Up to 60 hand-built ceramic works will chart the creative progress of the dynamic members of the movement over the last 25 years and indicate some of their directions of future development.
Viewers will gain insights into the individual ceramic practices of each artist and be shown how they connect to the philosophies of the broader collective.
The exhibition Uku Rere has been developed and toured by Pataka Art+Museum in collaboration with Toi Maori and with the support of Creative New Zealand.
About the Artists
Colleen Urlich 
Colleen is a foundation member of Maori Clay Collective, Nga Kaihanga Uku and occasionally cheekily referred to as the ‘Matriarch of the Muddies’. Her career has focused on the promotion of contemporary Maori art over a long career: education and academic studies, as art teacher, through regional and national selection, coordination and curation, publication, overseas promotion, through networking with other indigenous artists and agencies and as a committee member of Te Atinga.
Her work over the last decade reflects academic studies into the ancient clay culture of the Pacific peoples known as the Lapita, whose legacy of decorative dentate patterning on pots she believes to have been transferred throughout Polynesian to the art forms of tattau (tattoo, tapa, and weaving, reaching a height of expression in the work of Maori women weavers in the superb borders and hem decorations of superior hand woven cloaks. The patterning on her own pots reflects links to that ancient Pacific heritage and the meaningful patterns used in Raranga, Taniko and Tukutuku, by Maori women weavers. Her work has been exhibited throughout New Zealand, United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.
Wi Taepa 
Wi Taepa was born in Wellington in 1946. His Te Arawa hapu include, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao and Te Rorooterangi. His father, Hohepa Taepa was a Church of England minister and the family lived in Wellington, Otaki and Wanganui, where Taepa studied at Wanganui Technical College. Taepa comes from a line of Te Arawa master carvers through his uncle Taunu Tai Taepa who carved the pulpit in Rangiatea Church, Otaki and a carved a replica of St Faith's Church, Rotorua. Taepa is a Vietnam veteran (1970-1972), and on his return to New Zealand he joined the Justice Department as a Prison Officer and counselor teaching Māori wood and bone carving and leather and copper work to inmates at Witako (now Rimutaka) Prison. He helped complete carved two carved pou for the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, and in 1976 helped complete the Orongomai meetinghouse in Upper Hutt. In 1992, he obtained a New Zealand Certificate of Craft Design at Whitireia Polytechnic, Porirua and was offered a teaching position specializing in clay sculpture. Taepa went on to obtain a BFA his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wanganui Polytechnic in 1999. He lives and works in Whanganui. He obtained his MMVA Massey University in 2007. Taepa is a founding member of Ngā Kaihanga Uku, a national collective of Māori clay workers formed in 1987.
Paerau Corneal 
Paerau graduated with a Diploma in Craft Design-Māori in 1990 from Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua. She currently tutors in ceramics at Te Puna Toi, a Māori visual arts program of Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Palmerston North. She is a member of Nga Kaihanga Uku, a national Māori clayworkers’ group; Kauwae, a Māori female artists’ group, and Nga Wahine Kai Whakairo, a national Māori women’s carving group. Paerau’s work portrays Māori women as strong, enduring and as diverse as the carved female forms within the whare whakairo (carved house). She uses hand-building techniques to create her figurative forms and includes woven muka (flax fibres) and raranga (weaving) in her vessel forms.
Her work has been exhibited in “Home Made Home” (1991) at the City Gallery Wellington, “Kurawaka” (1994) at the Dowse Art Museum, and “Treasures of the Underworld” at the Expo 92 exhibition in Seville, Spain. Other exhibitions include “Sisters/Yakkananna/Kahui Mareikura” (2002) in Adelaide, Australia, and “Kiwa-Pacific Connections” (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.