Wi Taepa was born in Wellington in 1946. His Te Arawa hapu include, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Pikiao and Te Rorooterangi. His father, Hohepa Taepa was a Church of England minister and the family lived in Wellington, Otaki and Wanganui, where Taepa studied at Wanganui Technical College.
Taepa comes from a line of Te Arawa master carvers through his uncle Taunu Tai Taepa who carved the pulpit in Rangiatea Church, Otaki and a carved a replica of St Faith's Church, Rotorua.
Taepa is a Vietnam veteran (1970-1972), and on his return to New Zealand he joined the Justice Department as a Prison Officer and counselor teaching Māori wood and bone carving and leather and copper work to inmates at Witako (now Rimutaka) Prison. He helped complete carved two carved pou for the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, and in 1976 helped complete the Orongomai meetinghouse in Upper Hutt.
In 1992, he obtained a New Zealand Certificate of Craft Design at Whitireia Polytechnic, Porirua and was offered a teaching position specializing in clay sculpture. Taepa went on to obtain a BFA his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wanganui Polytechnic in 1999. He lives and works in Whanganui. He obtained his MMVA Massey University in 2007.
Taepa is a founding member of Ngā Kaihanga Uku, a national collective of Māori clay workers formed in 1987.
- Wi Taepa
- Ngati Whakaue (Te Arawa), Te Arawa, Te Atiawa (Taranaki)
- Date of birth
- 04 Apr 1946
- Place of birth
- New Zealand
- New Zealander