Awhina Tamarapa draws on her creativity to express her cultural values and identity as a Māori woman.
She is a passionate advocate of the arts and believes that the retention of customary art forms with the incorporation of contemporary vision are key to the survival and wellbeing of cultures.
“My past is my present. I acknowledge my ancestors in my work as a form of revival and transferal of cultural knowledge.”
Awhina Tamarapa affiliates to Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Raukawa iwi (tribes). She is a former Curator Māori for Te Papa, and has contributed to various publications including editor of Whatu Kākahu/Māori Cloaks (2011).
Awhina has always been passionate about art and culture. She holds a Masters in Museum Studies, Massey University (2016), Bachelor of Māori Laws and Philosophy from Te Wananga o Raukawa, Otaki (2003), and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University, Wellington (1993), where she majored in Anthropology.
Awhina spent 2015 studying one year at Whitireia Polytechnic, Porirua in Applied Arts and Design.
Awhina is the Principal Advisor, Culture and Exhibitions for Horowhenua District Council. She is also a Teaching Fellow for the Museum and Heritage Studies programme, Victoria University of Wellington.
Awhina supports the revival of customary art-forms such as weaving, currently learning from Veranoa Hetet, Hetet School of Māori Art, taonga puoro (Māori musical instruments) and stone tool technology.