Ngapine Tamihana Te Ao

Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Raukawa

Ngapine Tamihana Te Ao has lectured at Massey University in the Māori Studies Department and in the Art History Department at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury. She is a practising artist and curator and has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. Ngapine curated an exhibition of Māori women artists at Adelaide Arts Festival in 2002. She returned to manage Te Taumata Art Gallery during America’s Cup in Auckland. She writes non-fiction articles on art history, Māori art, exhibition reviews and catalogues. Ngapine has written under the names Ngapine Tamihana Te Ao and Ngapine Allen.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation and correspondence with Ngapine Tamihana Te Ao: 5 Oct. 2004 and 9 Nov. 2004.
  • Informal interviews with Ngapine between 1992-96.


  • "The Gallery at its Limits: Whatu Aho Rua and Te Ao Māori at the Sarjeant Gallery." Art New Zealand 52 (1989): 56-58.
  • A review of the exhibitions Whatu Aho Rua and Te Ao Māori curated by Rangi Panoho and exhibited concurrently in the Sarjeant Gallery, as a ‘weaving of two threads...the taonga rooted in the traditions of Māori culture before European settlement and the taonga of recent years.’
  • "Who Owns Our Images?" AGMANZ Journal 20.1 (1989): 17-18.
  • A discussion of issues surrounding the use of photography in the Māori world. Te Ao observes that photography in Aotearoa has generally involved outside viewpoints of the Māori rather than inside views and adds that the ‘continued use of the medium as a weapon to exploit and misappropriate Māori people and culture does not encourage photographers and ‘subjects’ to work closely together.’
  • "Pu Manawa: The Heart on the Margins." Art New Zealand 68 (1993): 58-61.
  • In this review of Pu Manawa: A Celebration of Whatu, Raranga and Taniko, an exhibition of Māori women artists held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Ao discusses the highlights of the exhibition and speaks of the ‘phenomenal shift’ of Māori women’s art from the margins to the lofty heights of ‘fine art’ within ‘the heart of the art world’.
  • "A New Context: Contemporary Māori Art at Waitangi." Art New Zealand 69 (Summer 1993/1994): 38-41.
  • A review of the exhibition of contemporary Māori art curated by Colleen Waata Urlich at the Waitangi Resort Hotel which Allen describes as ‘a chance to bring Māori artworks and the Māori public together in a Māori-owned hotel - a first for New Zealand - and to educate the wider public by bringing in multi media work by Māori artists into the environs of the hotel.’
  • Ta Apirana: A Historical Perspective. Toihoukura: Tai Rawhiti Polytechnic. Te Rakau Toi o Waitaha, N.Z.: School of Fine Arts, U of Canterbury 22 June - 8 July 1994.
  • In this booklet accompanying the exhibitions held at the School of Fine Arts during the Ngata Centenary in 1994, Ngapine Allen, the curator, writes of Sir Apirana Ngata’s contribution to the ‘renaissance’ of Māori arts and his involvement with the building of carved meeting houses all over the country. Allen briefly discusses his whakapapa, explores his theories on the connections between Taranaki, Northland and East Coast stone-tooled carving styles, and describes his involvement with the Polynesian Society and the formation of the Māori School of Art.
  • Ta Apirana: Taonga Tuku Iho. Christchurch, N.Z.: School of Fine Arts, U of Canterbury, 1994.
  • New Zealand Māori Culture and the Contemporary Scene 1996. Christchurch, N.Z.: Canterbury Museum, Mar. 1996.
  • Patua International Festival of the Arts. Wellington, N.Z.: Wellington City Art Gallery, Mar. 1996.
  • Nga Mahi O Te Aka O Tuwhenua. Christchurch, N.Z.: Canterbury Museum, 1996.
  • Kauwae. Gisborne, N.Z.: Gisborne Museum & Art Centre, 1998.
  • Whaia te Toi Tangata. Nelson, N.Z.: Suter Art Gallery, 1999-2000.
  • CD ROM – Ngapine Tamihana Te Ao at Pataka Gallery, 2000.
  • Sisters/Yakkananna’Kahui Ariki. NACI Tandanya, Adelaide, 2001. No further details.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Māori Vision and the Imperialist Gaze." In Colonialism and the Object. Ed. Eileen Hooper-Greenhill. London, UK: Routledge, 1998.
  • "The Legacy of Kakaho." Te Ata: The Tairawhiti Art Tradition. Ed. W. Ihimaera. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 2002.


  • "Ngapine Allen." Arts Times 18 (1990): 6-7.
  • "Māori Song Competition." Te Ao Hou 58 (Mar. 1967): 24-25.
  • Announces Thompson’s winning of a special award for Māori music composition by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. This waiata was produced on record by NZBC.