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About the artists of He Paki Taonga i a Māui

Hear from the artists behind the animations in each episode.

Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho

Episode: Ko te Kaipuke Karihi-kore | The Rainbow Warrior

Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho is a self-taught freelance artist of Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāi Tahu, and Ngāti Kahungunu descent based in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. They also whakapapa to Sāmoa, Tahiti, Ireland, Scotland, and Denmark.

They have worked with the University of Waikato, Auckland Pride, The Wireless, Ara Taiohi, Pantograph Punch, and Gender Minorities Aotearoa, amongst others.

Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

Episodes: Ko Hinemoa rāua ko Tūtānekai | Hinemoa and Tūtānekai, Ko te Pakanga a ngā Manu | Battle of the Birds

Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Irakehu) is a graphic artist with a diploma in Visual Arts (UCOL) and a Bachelor of Design (Hons) majoring in illustration from Massey University.

Izzy was born in 1988 and grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington) and the Wairarapa, where her parents passed on to her a keen interest in native plants and birdlife.

Her work explores themes of mana wāhine/the sacred feminine, kaitiakitanga, nature, and darkness, while her artistic inspirations come from an eclectic combination of artists and illustrators, old and new.

Izzy lives in Wellington, where she freelances as an illustrator in a variety of mediums, both digital and traditional.

Josh Morgan

Episodes: Ko Rata me ngā Tamariki a Tāne | Rata and the Children of Tane, Ko Tarakiuta rāua ko Tarakitai | The Tale of Tarakiuta and Tarakitai

Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhaakata) is a picture book illustrator who lives in Wellington with his family and a vast hoard of picture books. His digital illustrations are created to evoke the charm and quirkiness of the classic picture books and animations he grew up with (and still loves).

He is very proud that many of his projects, including the award-winning picture books he has produced with writer Sacha Cotter, have been from a Māori perspective. He also considers himself very fortunate to have worked on this project, especially sharing a story from his ancestral rohe.

Miriama Grace-Smith

Episodes: Te Kauranga Nui a Kahe | Kahe’s Epic Swim

Miriama Grace-Smith (Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Porou) has been creating art for most of her life. Her preferred mediums are painting, printmaking, tā moko, illustration, and fashion design.

Miriama completed a Certificate in Visual Arts at Whitireia Polytechnic and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massey University. Miriama’s education in the arts encouraged her to pursue a career doing what she loves – making art.

Much of her work depicts traditional village life, explores natural phenomena, and draws from pūrākau Māori.

Miriama is a member of Māori women’s art collective Hine Pae Kura, and has her own streetwear label Foresight Clothing.

Munro Te Whata

Episodes: Ko te Whakatau Nui a Willie Apiata | Willie Apiata and the Tough Decision, Ko Kupe me te Wheke Nunui | Kupe and the Giant Wheke, Te Tūtakinga Kino o te Tau 1769 | The Deadly Encounter of 1769, Te Whawhai i te Repo | The Battle in the Swamp, Ko Tāne me ngā Kete o te Wānanga | Tāne and the Kete of Knowledge

Munro Te Whata (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou) is Māori Niuean and is from South Auckland.

He began drawing at a very young age with his cousins. After dropping out of high school (because all he did was draw) he found animation school.

He was trained in traditional paper animation and later worked on Bro’town as an animator. He then worked at Māori TV and that led to him giving up on animation.

After a year of travel he decided to get a degree in creative writing and he also started getting illustrating work, which he has been doing ever since.

Ariki Brightwell

Episodes: Ko te Kaitaka Whakaora o Ruhia | Ruhia’s Life Saving Cloak, Ko Hūria me te Kaipuke | Hūria and the Shipwreck

Ariki Brightwell (Te Whānau-a-Ruataupere, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga, Ngāti Mutunga, Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa ki Tūwharetoa, Tahiti, Ra’iātea, Rarotonga) was born in 1989 in Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) and lives in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington). She graduated from Massey University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Video Communications Design and works at Te Wharewaka o Poneke and as a freelance artist.

Ariki says: ‘I am an indigenous artist of Māori and Tahitian descent. I spent my entire life practising the arts; it’s in my blood. I gather much of my influence in Te Ao Māori from my father Matahi Brightwell, a tohunga whakairo (master carver) who is one of the most renowned Māori artists in Aotearoa.

‘Another medium that inspired my art was eastern/western cartoons and the pop culture I grew up with in the 1990s and early 2000s. The aim of my art is to tell our stories and the whakapapa of the land as our ancestors did. I produce this in the forms of murals, paintings and digital works by incorporating both modern and traditional styles. Being part of this project was a dream come true. I am proud of my heritage and it is an honour to draw our history and the stories of our tipuna.’

Reweti Arapere

Episodes: Kua Mau i te Hau Tonga | Seized by the Cold South Wind

Reweti Arapere (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) holds a Master of Māori Visual Arts from Toioho ki Apiti School of Māori Studies, Massey University, and has exhibited extensively both throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally.

His art practice is contextualised through drawing and he is committed to representing customary Māori narratives in a contemporary light.

Te Hana Goodyer

Episodes: Te Paea me te Waka Wairua | Te Paea and the Ghost Waka, Ko Hēni me te Pakanga ki Pukehinahina | Hēni and the Battle of Gate Pā

Te Hana Goodyer (Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) graduated from Massey University in 2016. He lives in London, where he works as a product designer for an ecommerce tech start-up. He is an experienced user interface designer who also works as a freelance digital illustrator and animator.

Te Hana’s areas of focus are kaupapa Māori, hip hop and anime. ‘They are my sources of inspiration and influence, which motivate me in my everyday life.’