Ariana Tikao

Ngāi Tahu

1971 -

Ariana Tikao was born in Otautahi and was educated at Spreydon Primary School, Manning Intermediate and Lincoln High School. She continued her studies at the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago and graduated with a B.A. in Māori Studies from the University of Otago in 1993. In 1993 she researched the lives of prominent Māori women living in the 1890s. Ariana completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Museum Studies at Massey University and has worked with the Historic Place Trust in Auckland, the University of Canterbury’s Education Library and is currently working at the Alexander Turnbull Library. She has been part of a singing duo called Pounamu which released a CD called Mihi in 1996. This includes songs by Ariana and Jacquie Hanham. She has collaborated with Mahina-ina Kaui and Christine White forming Voices of Our Ancestors and together they toured on a month-long Arts on Tour perfoming at sixteen small towns. She is a researcher/writer and performer who writes poetry, waiata, and non-fiction articles. She has written poetry under the name Liane Tikao. She was Musician in Residence at the Centre for New Zealand Studies in London in 2008 and in 2012 she toured with her band Emeralds and Greenstone through Europe. She has concluded a MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters and in 2020 was an Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate. She was the 2023 Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence and phone conversation with Ariana Tikao: 14 May 1993, and Aug. 1998.
  • Tumataroa, Phil. “Te Ao o te Māori.” Te Karaka 52 (2011): 64-65.
  • Te Rā: The Māori Sail. Ariana TIkao and Mat Tait. Christchurch: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, 2023.


  • "L’eau." CANTA 16 Mar. 1992: 20.
  • The poet writes of her initial ambivalence to the Women’s Room.
  • "Time Gone." CANTA 9 June 1992: 23.
  • A reflection on the absence of a close companion and memories of the past.
  • "Papatuanuku Awaits." Te Akatoki Māori: CANTA 13 (14 July 1992): 23.
  • The poet writes of her relationship with Papatuanuku.
  • "Last night" [first line] CANTA (Womens Issue) (July 1992): 22.
  • A tribute to the moon and its powerful influence on the world.
  • Rev. of Weaving A Kakahu, by Diggeress Te Kanawa. Te Akatoki Māori: CANTA 13 (14 July 1992): 30.
  • Rev. of Te Haurapa: An Introduction to Researching Tribal Histories and Traditions, by Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal. Te Akatoki Māori: CANTA 13 (14 July 1992): 30-31.
  • Other

  • Te Rā: The Māori Sail. Christchurch, NZ: Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, 2023.
  • 'This book commemorates Te Rā: The Māori Sail - Kaua mā te koroingo noa iho, engari mā te werawera rānō, hosted at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū (8 July - 23 October 2023) and Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum (10 November 2023 - 26 May 2024), before Te Rā returns to the British Museum.'
  • Sound recordings

  • Mihi. 1996.
  • A CD of music by Pounamu with songs by Ariana Tikao and Jacquie Hanham.


  • Keene, Howard. "Māori Women Not All Forgotten." The Press 19 May 1993.
  • "Pounamu in France." Canta 20 (1995): 14.
  • Tumataroa, Phil. "Te Ao o Te Māori." Te Karaka 52 (2011): 64-65.