My Journey as an Artist


As with most artists, my interest in art making goes right back to childhood. Being a shy recluse and lacking confidence in my ability however, I didn't get serious about art until later years. Research now tells us that our educational systems largely hammer creativity out of our children. And unfortunately the era of my childhood did not encourage art anyway, not seen as a lucrative employment option. So in 1999 I resigned from my full time job as a care & protection social worker and signed up for a foundational Visual Arts course at PN Ucol.

During that first year of study I attended a major art exhibition in our capital city, a first ever exhibition to highlight the anniversary of the little known 1881 colonial invasion by government troops of NZ's peaceful Parihaka settlement in the Taranaki. The exhibition was titled: Parihaka: The Art of Passive Resistance. The 'crime' of the Parihaka people was to decline to sell their ancestral lands. You can read their story at their website.  Those who resisted selling lost their lands anyway via government confiscations … not selling classed you as a 'rebel' in which case the government assumed the right to confiscate, taking illegally, 6 million acres in all. You didn't find that info in the mainstream narratives prior to the 1970s. You did however hear that NZ apparently had the best race relations in the world. Any folk departing from that official narrative were told to get over it and move on.

This exhibition impacted me greatly... primarily because this historical episode had never been aired in my own educational history, even at University where I'd studied Social Policy. Two of my elective papers there had been in NZ History, yet this was the very first I'd heard of Parihaka. It was the beginning of a new journey for me… one of uncovering a vast amount of lying from our esteemed establishments. The real beginning of my awareness regarding land loss issues had been in the 1970s with the hikoi from the far North to our capital city.  'Not one more acre' was the tag line of the hikoi led by the late Dame Whina Cooper. (Link to NZ on Screen's doco). I accompanied that hikoi with friends on its first leg from Te Hapua to Auckland. What an eye opener, hearing each evening the fiery speeches by Dame Whina. There is a movie recently made about her life, another eye opener as to real conditions back then.

After Ucol I applied to study at Toioho Ki Āpiti School of Māori Visual Arts at Massey… a four year art degree that focuses on the Treaty of Waitangi. This would help me to further explore both our national and my own personal histories, being of Māori descent myself.

Eighteen months into the BMVA program however, I received a medical diagnosis that forced me to shelve everything and rest. Thereby began an extended period of researching both our histories and environmental issues. The latter related particularly to my health as I'd been told mainstream medicine could not fix me.

Back during the '80s when studying social policy I recall being taught that one day, corporations would control governments. (Predictive programming at its finest). I have literally in my lifespan, observed the rollout of that … accompanied by a huge decline in human and environmental health both locally and globally. With a corporate bottom line of profits, it is not difficult to see that therein lies much (or most) of the cause of our problems nowadays.

These then are the issues that have become the focus of my art, and of my other websites listed below.

I received a BMVA (Hons) at Toioho ki Apiti (Palmerston North) in 2018 and a Post Grad Dip MVA in 2020. I received a BSW at the same University in 1993. I currently live in Northland. I've not been making art since 2020 although that is soon to change.

Environmental Health Watch NZ
Earth's Bloodstains