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New arts student feeling at home away from home

January 20, 2020

Māori Visual Arts degree student Hinemoana Tautari with her latest work in progress in one of the design studios at Toihoukura.

Northland student Hinemoana Tautari hasn’t had a chance to get homesick since enrolling for the Bachelor of  Māori Visual Arts at EIT’s Toihoukura this year.

She has made some great new friends and now feels part of the Toihoukura “family”.

Already she has explored various art forms, including painting, tukutuku, photography and various other art forms and is considering which one to focus on next year.

“I wanted to do Maori art forms to take back home to teach my hapu,” she said. “My main thing is the cultural thing.”

Hinemoana is from Nga Puhi subtribe Te Hikutu and grew up in the small community of Hokianga, which she adores.

“My family were a bit scared about me moving away but they did not want me to stay there and do nothing either,” she said.

She originally planned to study art at the Elam School of Fine Arts at Auckland University, but her art teacher Michelle Morunga, who was also her aunty and mentor, recommended Toihoukura.

She is glad she took her advice.

“I have already learned so much this year,” she says.

Most of the work she has completed has sold, which is one of the ultimate compliments for an artist.

“It is very exciting to sell your work and I was able to buy a plane ticket home to see my family.”

All her work has been inspired by Hokianga, which will always be her home.

But everyone at Toihoukura had been very welcoming which had made the transition away from home much easier.

Inspired by her own art teacher, Hinemoana wants to inspire young people by teaching them art in their own language.

Te Reo Māori is her first language, and she is happy that it is an integral part of the Toihoukura culture.

But the dialect in Tairāwhiti was different to how te reo was spoken in Tai Tokerau which made it very interesting, she said.

At this stage Hinemoana thinks she will go to Wellington to do her teaching diploma, and maybe after that do some travel once she has finished her degree.

She has been awarded a Year 13 scholarship which means that after her first year Government fees free, she will have to pay for only the third year of the degree programme.