The Gallery’s Māori Advisory Group, Haerewa, was established in 1994.

‘Haerewa’ translates as the ‘first cut’ of the tā moko (tattoo) artist, and taking this name equates the group with cutting-edge activities.

Comprising pre-eminent Māori artists, academics and cultural figures, Haerewa is a voice for Māori artists and Māori art. The group’s aim is to provide cultural advice to the Gallery, to raise the profile of Māori in the Gallery and to foster an environment that encourages Māori to use and enjoy the Gallery.

Over the last two decades, Haerewa has played a vital role in the Gallery’s life. Its members have been instrumental in the establishment of the role of Indigenous Curator, Māori Art  (Ngahiraka Mason for 20 years); have generously taken on the roles of kaumātua (the late Arnold Manaaki Wilson, Fred Graham, ONZM, Dr Patu Hohepa) and kuia (foundation chair, Elizabeth Ellis, CNZM, Mere Harrison Lodge); and have provided support for major exhibitions of Māori art, including Korurangi (1995), Goldie (1997), Hotere (1998), Pūrangiaho: Seeing Clearly (2001), Te Hei Tiki (2005), Turuki Turuki! Paneke Paneke! (2008), Modern Māori (2011), Five Māori Painters (2014), The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand (2016), Adorned Histories (2016), Radical Beginnings (2018), Wi Taepa: Retrospective (2018), Living Portraits: Mata Raurangi (2019) and Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art (2020).

A group of three innovative permanent artworks commissioned from Arnold Manaaki Wilson with Anthony Wilson, Fred Graham and Lonnie Hutchinson, are found at the principal internal and external thresholds of the Gallery. Previous Haerewa member Bernard Makoare was Māori design consultant to the Gallery’s redevelopment project from which emerged the ‘Māori dimension’ of the new building.

In 2014, members of Haerewa travelled to Berlin, Germany, to represent Māori and the Gallery at the opening ceremonies of Gottfried Lindauer: The Māori Portraits at Alte Nationalgalerie. In May 2015, representatives travelled to Pilsen, Czech Republic, for the exhibition Gottfried Lindauer: Pilsen Painter of the New Zealand Māori at the Gallery of West Bohemia. The opening ceremony was a traditional kawe mate, the return of the spirit of the deceased to the homeland, in this case Lindauer to his birthplace of Pilsen. In 2017, Haerewa travelled to the de Young Museum, San Francisco, USA, with The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand.


Haerewa members


Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kuta; Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Takimoana, Ngāi Tāne; CNZM, JP

Elizabeth Ellis is dedicated to promoting, developing and supporting Māori through the arts and culture. Her career was in education for 50 years, retiring from the Education Review Office and Te Aute College in 2013.

She trained at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, and initiated Haerewa in 1994 and has been Chair since that time. She has held trustee positions on the New Zealand Arts Foundation, Creative New Zealand Council, was New Zealand representative on the Council of Pacific Arts and Culture and Chair of Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand (1994–2006). She was also on the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (1999–2006).

Elizabeth is Chair of the Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable Trust Board, and she has been a Life Member of the Auckland Institute and Museum since 1964 and an inaugural Trustee on the Judith Binney Trust Te Tomairangi o Te Aroha since 2013. Elizabeth is also the Chair of the Toi Iho Charitable Trust.


Ngāpuhi; Te Māhurehure, Te Kapotai, Ngāti Korokoro; Te Ātiawa 

Dr Patu Hohepa is a former Professor of Māori Language at the University of Auckland, former Māori Language Commissioner of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori and a highly respected academic. He has dedicated more than 50 years of his life researching, developing, lecturing and advocating for the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

He is a Ngāpuhi orator, genealogist, waiata singer, spokesperson and writer, and retains an enduring interest in education opportunities for the people of Te Tai Tokerau/Northland, where he resides, at Waimā in the Hokianga. He has lectured, presented papers and travelled widely, promoting Indigenous linguistic issues, politics, history and culture.


Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hao, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Hau

A painter and educator born in Whangārei, Dr Benjamin Pittman was the first Māori graduate to hold Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts (Hons) degrees from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. He also holds degrees from the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney and the Catholic Institute of Sydney. Resident overseas for 34 years, Benjamin returned home to his ancestral lands, Te Tai Tokerau/Northland, in 2013 to focus on painting and writing, and cultural and environment-related activism.

Benjamin is Chair of Te Parawhau ki Tai (Te Pouwhenua o Tiakiriri Kukupa Trust Board), Chair of Creative Northland, a Te Ara Whakarei (lifetime member) of Toi Iho Charitable Trust, and Secretary of the Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable Trust. Apart from arts and culture advocacy, Benjamin’s other interests include ancestral whakapapa (genealogy) and history, and UNESCO environmental protection and preservation.


Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tūteauru; MNZM

Lisa Reihana is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. Her practice includes visual arts, working with art galleries and museums, the Māori film sector and tertiary education. Since the 1990s, Lisa has significantly influenced the development of contemporary art and contemporary Māori art in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her art making is driven by a powerful connection to community. Influenced by Indigenous principles, her ambitious and poetically nuanced work disrupts gender, time, power and representational norms. Lisa’s work is exhibited and held in collections nationally and internationally.


Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Te Ātiawa

Tim Melville lived in London for 20 years and, while there, studied art history. He returned to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2005 and opened Tim Melville Gallery, in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, in 2007.

Alongside his representation of emerging New Zealand artists, Tim is proud to have introduced the work of Australian Aboriginal artists from the Warmun (Western Australia), Buku-Larrnggay Mulka (Northern Territory) and Warakurna (Western Australia) communities to a new audience on this side of the Tasman. Mid-career and senior artists who have joined his gallery include Brett Graham, Star Gossage and Alberto Garcia-Alvarez.


Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Aitanga a Māhaki; MNZM

A published writer, poet, artist and creator for television and radio, Dr Haare Williams has had a long and distinguished career across multiple fields of endeavour and expertise.

As an expert in te reo Māori, he served as both Dean of Māori Education and Māori Advisor to the Chief Executive at Unitec Institute of Technology. He led a joint venture with the South Seas Film & Television School to train speakers of te reo, and has worked closely with iwi claimant communities, including responsibilities for waka construction and assembly at Waitangi for the 1990 commemorations. Haare has served as cultural advisor for the Mayor of Auckland and is also Amorangi (Māori leader) at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.


Ngāti Korokī Kahukura; ONZM

Since the 1960s, Fred Graham has been one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading Māori artists. His work is noted for using carved and painted elements and often incorporates both traditional and non-traditional materials in innovative ways.

Fred initially trained as a teacher and became an arts specialist in the Rotorua and Te Tai Tokerau/Northland areas, later working as a lecturer to student and graduate teachers. He has carried out many commissions, both nationally and internationally, with his art featured in public places all over Aotearoa New Zealand, including in the Auckland High Court and the National Archives Building, Wellington. Fred’s long-standing contribution to the arts and education were recognised when he was appointed a New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2018.


Ngāti Porou

Born at Waipiro Bay on the East Coast, Mere Harrison-Lodge was raised in Ruatōria and educated in Kaikohe, taught in her final year by the artist Selwyn Wilson and her sister, Kāterina Mataira, at Northland College. She went on to study at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, and later trained as a secondary school teacher. She served as a Māori arts educator at Epsom Teachers College, tutoring trainee teachers in kura kaupapa (Māori-language immersion schools).

Mere has been a member of the Haerewa Advisory Group of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki since its inception in 1994.


Ngāpuhi, Waikato, Ngāti Haina, Ngāti Pākehā

Dr Valance Smith is Assistant Pro-Vice Chancellor (Māori Advancement) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), where he also leads the implementation of its Mātauranga Māori Strategy.

Valance holds a PhD in Māori and Indigenous Development, and is a composer, tutor and performer of kapa haka and modern music. He provides cultural and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) leadership to AUT, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the corporate sector, and his whānau and wider communities.

His current research includes co-leading a suite of research projects with the National Science Challenges (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki) looking at mātauranga Māori solutions for kauri dieback, and another looking at the relationship between maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), physical activity and well-being.


Te Tao Mauī o Te Rarawa

Robert Newsom was raised by his grandparents in Mitimiti, in the Hokianga. Educated at Matihetihe Native School, Hato Petera College and the University of Auckland, Robert studied Māori theology and spirituality under the guidance and mentoring of Pā Henare Tate, and many kuia and kaumātua. He then joined the New Zealand Army and saw active service in then Malaya and also in Vietnam. He continued his career with the New Zealand Police, eventually awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. Robert has also worked for the Human Rights Commission, Families Commission, Auckland City Council and is currently Kaumātua at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

Robert’s passion is his whānau whakapapa (family ancestry), taha wairua (Catholic faith and karakia, or prayer) and taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing). He is highly active in his marae, whānau, hapū and iwi development.

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