Graduate Profile

Kawiti Wiremu - Whakairo practitioner and tutor

Kawiti Wiremu - Whakairo

Whakairo practitioner and tutor

“I applied for my job teaching the level 3 Certificate in Kāwai Rauapa - Introduction to Māori Art, at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa earlier in 2017 when I was in the last few months of my Maunga Kura Toi (Bachelor of Māori Arts Degree) doing the Whakairo strand.  That time was a bit of a stretch and I could have compromised both, but I learned a lot about time management and motivation, and I made it.”

“I loved the projects we did on our degree course and the introduction into the world of rangahau (research). The mentoring/tutoring from the late Te Kuiti Stewart had a profound influence on me and my work as a practitioner, and as a tutor of whakairo.” 

“I originally did my Diploma in Māori Design and Art at Te Wānanga-o-Raukawa at home in Otaki back in 2007, then I put the chisels away for a few years until a friend put me in touch with Awataha Marae who sparked my passion for whakairo again. I then taught Te Ara Tauira whakairo at Kamo High School which overlapped with my committing to study for Maunga Kura Toi.”

“The practical skills and the academic skills from the degree study are directly relevant to my kaiako (teaching) job now. Our degree course had a strong rangahau (research) component that I bring into the level 3 class to introduce the academic aspect to whakairo, however I acknowledge everyone has their unique reasons to learn about whakairo and I do my best to service their needs.” 

“In this teaching role, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in dealing with people and developing relationships with the community through whakairo. I’ll be teaching level 4 next year so I’m watching up-and-coming students and feeding people into the pathway programmes.”

“The arts have been on a shaky foundation lately in terms of retaining their priority in our current culture. But I encourage people to remember that until recently, entire cities all over the globe, were initially determined by the artists’ visions and skill sets.”