My interest in art has always been paralleled with the interest in the history of my tribal area. The ideas and concepts for my work are very often interwoven with powerful figures from my tribal histories who ignite the passion for me to represent them as they deserve.
I listened to tribal histories from great people such as Hiko Hohepa, who was always willing to add yet another anecdote to stories that I had read, and I would then translate the story into visuals that I hope people can easily identify with. Each time I paint the story of one of our amazing tupuna, another comes to light with yet another fascinating contribution to the histories of the tribe. And so it is with the valuable document that Aroha Yates-Smith has written, a plethora of stories that conjure images of Wahine Toa from whom we descend. Kia ora Koe e te Tuahine.
—June Northcroft Grant
Featured in the book Te Kahui o Matariki (Contemporary Māori Art of Matariki).
Te Arawa, Tūwharetoa, Tuhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao
June graduated from the Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua with a Diploma of Craft Design in 1989. Inspired by her ancestors and their art, she continues the tradition for the future generations of her family. Her work is often interwoven with powerful figures and stories from her tribal histories. She says, “Each time I paint the story of one amazing tupuna (ancestor), another comes to light with yet another fascinating contribution to the histories of the tribe.”
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