Te Naiti Tīhema – Te Ara i Whiti Artist 2022

Te Naiti Kepa Tāne Tihema

Waikato / Ngāti Manawa / Tūhoe

“Specialising in painting, sculpture, installation pieces, multimedia relief work 2-3 dimensional and tāmoko.

My relationship with Māori Art began as a student at Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga. Not only did we practice Māori Art in the pen and paint form, but art was regularly expressed in the form of kapa haka as well. I enrolled at Toihoukura after high school and completed a Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts. After graduating I worked as a full time tāmoko artist for a couple of years before deciding I wanted to become a Secondary School Māori Art Teacher and returned to do more study through The University of Waikato and working as a Kaiako at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu o Ngati Porou.

For the past two years, in my spare time I have been working towards building a screen printing and design business here on the East Coast. Computer graphic design is now my most practiced art form with the high demand for apparel, design and signage here on the East Coast. I’ve enjoyed my journey dabbling with different mediums and learning about our culture so far.

There are countless reasons that motivate me to create art. Art is inspiring and stimulating. It allows for different feelings and creativity to be expressed by the artist – this is where stories are created.”

Te Ara i Whiti

Te Naiti is one of our seven exhibiting artists for Te Ara i Whiti 2022. Describing his work “Ahi Kōmata“, Te Naiti said:

“Inspiration for this piece came from an old tradition and ceremony called Umu Kohukohu Whetū. The Umu Kohukohu Whetū is a ceremony where food offerings are made to certain stars of the Matariki cluster. A kūmara for Tupuānuku, a kererū or another bird from the forest would be offered to Tupuārangi, an eel or freshwater fish to Waitī, and shellfish or sealife to Waitā.

With the Te Ara I Whiti being held during Matariki, I thought it would be nice to incorporate this tradition into this kaupapa.

The flow of the kōwhaiwhai design acknowledges water flow from the ocean, lakes, rivers and the food sources they represent. The kape pattern represents cultivation and rua kumara. The overall pattern flow acknowledges our past while looking towards our future.”

You can find Ahi Kōmata at Te Ara i Whiti from July 9-17, 2022 at Kevlin and Marina Park.