Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland-based painter Donna Tupaea-Petero attended the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in the late 1980s, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1994. She gained a Master of Māori Visual Art from Massey University, Te Papa-i-Oea/Palmerston North, in 2010.
Her work often explores her whakapapa (genealogy), referencing Māori symbolism and the figurative form. Tupaea-Petero also has a long-held conceptual interest in mahi raranga (Māori weaving traditions) as a means of commenting on the roles of Māori women in both customary and contemporary Māori culture.
Tupaea-Petero has been actively involved in secondary school art education for the past 25 years. As both an art teacher and arts advocate, her research has focused on improving educational outcomes for Māori through culturally responsive teaching that promotes equity and excellence. She is currently the tangata whenua (indigenous peoples) representative on the Aotearoa New Zealand Art Educators Association and co-chair of the National Arts Education Alliance Association.
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