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Leading Māori artist and NorthTec arts tutor, Kura Te Waru-Rewiri, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts.
Kura, who is described by the college as “one of Aotearoa’s most celebrated Māori women artists”, was inducted along with four other alumni as part of the college’s 130th anniversary celebrations at a special event in Wellington on Friday (10 June) evening.
She was invited to be inducted by Claire Robinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Creative Arts, “in recognition of your significant contribution to art in New Zealand as an artist, educator and academic.”
Kura spent 10 years lecturing at Toioho ki Apiti Māori Visual Arts School, on Massey’s Palmerston North Campus, from 1996 to 2006.
Ms Robinson said the college was proud of Kura’s long association with the school, and also “of your significant contribution through your work in giving voice to issues surrounding Māori women’s sovereignty, the effects of colonisation, and the significance of taonga Māori. Your knowledge of pre-colonial art and its traditions included in your own contemporary arts practice have made your work not only distinctive, but also celebrated throughout New Zealand.”
Kura said this week she was “still on cloud nine” following the event, and was receiving congratulations from her family, her marae and members of her iwi and hapū. She said: “It was such an honour and very humbling. The acknowledgement to me was my contribution to the arts nationally, not just as a Māori artist but as an artist and arts educator.”
She joins illustrious creative New Zealanders like artists Manos Nathan and Len Lye, Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop and fashion designer Kate Sylvester in the Hall of Fame. It was established in 2007 to celebrate alumni who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand’s economy, reputation and identity through art, music and design.
Kura, who was born and raised in the Far North, graduated from Canterbury University’s Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1973, before becoming a teacher. She has taught at secondary schools and tertiary colleges as well as working as a practising artist.
Her paintings are held in prestigious collections such as Wellington’s Te Papa Museum, Auckland Art Gallery, Waikato Museum of Art & History, Dunedin Art Gallery, The University of Auckland and the National Art Gallery of Australia in Canberra. She has also twice had her artwork selected for the NZ Post Matariki stamp collection.
Kura is currently the senior lecturer for NorthTec’s Bachelor of Māori Art degree programme (Maunga Kura Toi), and last year project managed the refurbishment of NorthTec’s Te Puna o Te Mātaraunga marae, which features stunning contemporary works throughout.