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Māori Artist in Residence: Stevei Houkamau

Māori Artist in Residence: Stevei Houkamau

Toi Pōneke Arts Centre inaugural Māori Artist in Residence in 2023 is renowned uku artist Stevei Houkamau (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui). Stevei’s strong connection to her whakapapa influences both her life and artwork. She carves her works with distinctive markings and has exhibited extensively throughout Aotearoa. Her work is held in many national and international collections. Stevei is a big believer that when you shake things up, ask for change, and for an organisation to listen, you have to be there, to help, to educate, and to move it forward. She has a place at the table to ensure Toi Pōneke is safe space and functions properly for Māori and Pasifika artists. “If a place is safe for Māori and Pasifika, it is a safe space for all cultures, because then we acknowledge mātauranga Māori and manaakitanga – those things that hold people to how they treat each other.” Council has operated Toi Pōneke Arts Centre since 2005. Since its inception, Toi Pōneke has supported hundreds of artists and organisations, through the provision of 24-hour access to subsidised studios, rehearsal rooms, exhibition space, resources, programmes, and more. Growing up in Cannons Creek, in a Māori and Pasifika community, and spending much time with whānau up the East Coast, has strongly influenced Stevei’s work. “My upbringing has influenced, especially, the surface design of my work, a mix of Māori and Pasifika patterns. My clay markings are the visual language that speaks to my whānau kōrero, kaupapa, and my whakapapa”, says Stevei. “Coming from a line of Māori chieftainesses (including Hinemaurea, Hinerupe, and Ruataupare), my work also brings out the stories of the wāhine in my family, the influences, and the mana they held. It is knowledge I will pass on to the next generations”. Part of Stevei’s residency sees her curating the Toi Pōneke Gallery exhibition Te Matapihi (24 June – 21 July), which coincides with Matariki. The exhibition brings together a group of talented, established, mainly Māori and Pasifika artists, and also features her own work. Council’s Aho Tini 2030 Arts, Culture, and Creativity Strategy focuses include inclusivity and working in partnership with mana whenua and Māori. To keep up to date with what is happening in your city subscribe to our social media channels and newsletters. Twitter:​​ Facebook: Instagram:
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