“Art is my voice, it allows me to speak and express myself in ways that sometimes words cannot.”
Victor Te Paa – Tukuafu was born in 1975 at Whangarei, a city located at the top of the North Island of New Zealand. Victor is of Māori and Tongan decent.
Victor’s mother is of Māori ancestry, his connection or bloodlines are linked to the tribe (iwi) of Ngati Tūwharetoa. This heritage allows him to incorporate traditional and non-traditional designs that symbolize and express his cultural identity through his chosen medium of paint.
Even though he is more familiar with his Māori heritage he acknowledges his father through his Tongan ancestry, this acknowledgment is found in the rectilinear designs that are a reoccurring theme within his work. These rectilinear or triangular designs/motifs can be found throughout Polynesia. He draws upon his ancestry while making his artistic journey.
In 1997 he began to study Māori Art and Design under the guidance of head tutors Manos Nathan, Allen Wihongi and Garry Whiting at the Northland Polytechnic, Whangarei. Then in 2002 he moved to Gisborne and completed the Diploma of Maori Visual Arts and Design at Toihoukura, Te Tairawhiti Polytechnic under the guidance of head tutors Derek Lardelli and Steve Gibbs.
Victor graduated in 2006 as an inaugural student of the Maunga Kura Toi-Bachelor of Maori Arts degree at the Toimairangi School of Maori Visual Culture, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, located in Hastings under the guidance of head tutor Sandy Adsett.
Artist Statement, 2010