Ngā Ringa Toi o Tahu

Te toi whakairo, ka ihiihi, ka wehiwehi, ka aweawe te ao katoa.
Artistic excellence makes the world sit up in wonder.

A series of mini art documentaries capturing the talent and achievements of some of our most well-known Ngāi Tahu artists.

Simon Kaan

Simon Kaan describes his work as ‘biological landscapes’, animated vistas that piece together a sense of belonging and explore a multi-dimensional sense of self.

…those Chinese artists, traditionally were engaged with (land) in the same way as Māori think about whenua here… The spiritual nature of it.


Born in Dunedin in 1971 to a Chinese father and Ngāi Tahu mother, it is not surprising that his whakapapa and strong sense of his Ngāi Tahu heritage, has grounded him in the cultural and physical local landscape, the subject of many of his paintings.

His Chinese heritage has had equal influence and is as interwoven within his work as it is within him as an individual.

Fiona Pardington

For several decades Dr Fiona Pardington has been a prominent figure in the contemporary art world both locally here in Aotearoa and internationally. An extraordinary talent, she has received numerous accolades for her hauntingly beautiful photographic works.

I want my photographs to be more than name, form or concept. I want them to be a piece of my life, an image connected with me – by the bridge of emotion.


In 2016 she was named a Knight (Chevalier) in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls and in this years Queens Birthday Honours was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to photography.

Ross Hemera

Professor Ross Hemera can best be described as a rangatira of the Ngāi Tahu art aesthetic. Drawing inspiration from the landscape of Te Waipounamu and in particular, the rock art created by his tīpuna, his works are creative expressions of contemporary Māori pattern, design and imagery, and expand the tradition of Ngāi Tahu visual culture.

Te waatea… All of my work is about filling that space. Kia ora koutou katoa, I don’t need to say anything more.


Most well-known for his mixed-media sculptures, his work has been included in many contemporary Māori art exhibitions and in recent times he has taken on a number of public commissions including the Te Ao Marama carving at Te Papa Tongarewa and the ‘Tuhituhi Whenua’ mural at Te Hononga: Christchurch Civic Building.

Whakapapa, whenua, mana, taonga and whānau are at the heart of his creative practice and guide his visual expression of ‘Ngāitahutanga’.

Reihana Parata and Morehu Flutey-Henare

Reihana Parata (QSM), and Morehu Flutey-Henare are two extraordinarily gifted and humble Ngāi Tahu wahine, with a shared passion and a long-standing creative partnership. Tohunga in the practice of weaving, they have dedicated their lives to keeping the tradition alive through their huge body of work and passing on their knowledge to others. Using the traditional techniques passed down through the generations coupled with the inspiration for patterns they find in nature and their own artistic interpretation, their distinctive work is highly sought after.

They used to say there are no Māori in Christchurch.


In 2015 they were commissioned to create 13 Whairiki patterned paving stones as one of the anchor projects for the Christchurch Recovery Plan. Ngā Whāriki Manaaki, depicts the progression of a traditional pōwhiri using the patterns traditionally used for weaving floor mats and creating templates that could be laid using coloured paving stones.