Mere Harrison Lodge

Mere Harrison Lodge
Ngāti Porou/Māori
Date of birth
Mere Harrison grew up in a family of 13 siblings. Her parents, Rawiera Harrison and Erana Nika Horimete, instilled a love of creativity in their children and encouraged their daughter’s interest in art and education. Along with her cousin, Elizabeth Ellis, Lodge became one of the first Māori women to attend Elam School of Fine Arts when she enrolled in the early 1960s. At Elam, she was taught by the influential artists A Lois White and Jim Allen and it was with Allen’s guidance that Lodge developed a strong affinity for sculpture. Lodge graduated with a Diploma of Fine Arts in 1964 and went on to pursue a career in education, teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand and in Fiji. Like her older sister Dame Kāterina Mataira, Lodge has been a tireless advocate for te reo Māori and was closely involved in language revitalisation, including through her work at Auckland College of Education. In the late 1980s, Lodge worked alongside Tuakana Mate (Tuki) Nepe, Rawinia Penfold and Elizabeth Rata to develop a curriculum in te reo Māori, teaching in some of Aotearoa’s first total immersion schools. Lodge was a member of Haerewa Māori Advisory Board at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 1994 to 2021. In the late 1990s, she assisted Auckland Art Gallery curator Roger Blackley’s research for an exhibition of Charles F Goldie’s work by tracing descendants of the portrait subjects and helping them reconnect with their painted tūpuna.