Te Ara i Whiti Artist Feature – Erena

Erena Koopu

Te Whānau a Apanui, Ngāti Awa

Erena Koopu a painter and Māori performing artist is committed to sustaining Māori culture through art by guiding and helping people to explore and discover their own creative core. Her works are influenced by Te Ao Māori with a focus on retelling and retaining iwi narratives.

Erena is a Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura graduate who prides herself in all things Māori. She was also one of the first students to graduate with a degree from EIT Tairāwhiti’s Toihoukura – School of Māori Visual Arts and Design. Since that achievement, she has come full circle and now uses her position as senior lecturer to broadening knowledge of toi Māori through teaching and engagement. Her role allows her to investigate art in a framework that encompasses all aspects of Te Ao Māori for students who may have little to no experience of a Māori worldview of art and its related protocols.

Erena is currently preparing artworks for upcoming solo exhibitions as well as group collaborative works.

Te Ara i Whiti

Erena is one of our twelve exhibiting artists for Te Ara i Whiti 2021.

Erena is drawing from her piece last year, Te Ara Kowatawata to light up the Peel Street Bridge with ten pieces of her signature wheku, this year she brings Pari kārangaranga. Through the use of different light gradients, Erena hopes to welcome viewers into Te Ara i Whiti “from the darkness, into the light”.