Te Āti Awa/Māori
Ngāti Te Roro o Te Rangi/Ngāti Whakaue/Māori
Date of birth
04 Apr 1946
Place of birth
Wellington (region)/New Zealand
Wi Taepa was born in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, with much of his early childhood spent at the Te Āti Awa settlement Waiwhetu Marae. The family later moved to Ōtaki and finally Whanganui, where Taepa studied at Wanganui Technical College (now Whanganui City College).
On returning to New Zealand having served in the Vietnam War, Taepa held a number of roles in reform and rehabilitation programmes teaching wood, bone and stone carving. He also began to experiment with clay.
Using coiling, pinching and slab techniques, Taepa forms his sculptures by hand. This tactile approach to building and shaping produces organic and textural forms.