You are invited to join a programme of curated and moderated talks entitled A Base of People, designed to stimulate public debate in the framework of the Art Fair. Over three days, three different panels will consider thought provoking questions raised and answered by local and international artists, writers and cultural actors around the unique position of Aotearoa as a place for contemporary art production.

The three sessions engage ‘people based’ panels, drawing from the embodied knowledge and lived experience, rather than putting forward a theoretical approach. All the panelists are involved in the arts ecology of Aotearoa, but also operate outside it.

The 2021 Talks Programme is curated by Remco de Blaaij (Director of Artspace Aotearoa) on behalf of Ngātahi (a collaboration between Auckland arts organisations Artspace Aotearoa, Gus Fisher Gallery, Objectspace, ST PAUL St Gallery, Te Tuhi and Te Uru) and is supported by Creative New Zealand.


Talk 2: How and When?

Friday 26 February 3-4:30pm

Thinking through artistic and curatorial examples of Aotearoa based exhibitions, what are the examples we need to learn from more and better. If then, how, and when do we need to look at new ways of presenting, representing ‘new’ art from Aotearoa? What are the systems required and are the uses of our institutions still relevant?

The panel will be led by Remco de Blaaij with Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua, Ngahiraka Mason, Nigel Borell and Ashleigh Taupaki.

Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua

Cameron (Sa Matamua; Sa Muagututi’a; Guangdong) is a writer, curator and educator based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Prior to their appointment Cameron engaged with St Paul St Gallery as an independent researcher within the 2018 Symposium, Ko au te au/I am the Ocean, and as co-curator with Director, Charlotte Huddleston on the 2019 two-part exhibition project Two Oceans at Once, shown at St Paul St, and The Physics Room, Ōtautahi. They have recently completed a PGDipFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts where they were also employed as a graduate teaching assistant. Their writing has appeared both nationally and internationally, most recently at Art Basel Hong Kong and Karma Gallery, NYC. Cameron was the 2017 Education Intern at Artspace Aotearoa, working across both curatorial and public programming with a focus on emergent and Moana artists and thinkers. ⁣

Ngahiraka Mason

Ngahiraka Mason (Tūhoe, Te Arawa, and Ngāti Pango) is an independent curator, critic, and visual historian with research and curatorial interests in the material culture and histories of Polynesian peoples and community relationships with museums and collections. Mason is the former Indigenous Curator, Māori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her exhibitions and publications focus on historical, modern, and contemporary art. Recent projects include Wananga|Wanana (2019) at Bishop Museum, Honolulu; Honolulu Biennial: Middle of Now/Here, the inaugural Honolulu Biennial (2017) and the international touring exhibition Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand (2014–16). She has published in American Quarterly (2020), and presented at the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) conference (2019) and at NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020). Mason is a founding trustee of the Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable Trust, Whangārei, and a former trustee on the Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust. Mason lives and works in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Nigel Borell

Nigel Borell (b. 1973) is of Pirirakau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea tribal descent. He is a curator, writer, and artist specialising in Māori art in both customary and contemporary fields of research. Recent curatorial projects include co-curating with Zara Stanhope Moa Hunter Fashions by Areta Wilkinson, for 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018) and The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, to deYoung Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2017). Current projects include the curatorium to Histōrias Indīgenas- Indigenous Histories at Museu de Art de (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil (2023). And the large survey exhibition and publication Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art currently on display at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2021), where he was the Curator Māori art from 2015-2020. Forthcoming collaborative projects include working with fellow curator Megan Tamati-Quennell in the development of Nation to Nation (working title) – a major travelling Indigenous art exhibition for 2023 – 2024 which includes the development of an Indigenous reader and exhibition catalogue.

Borell participated in the First Nations Indigenous Curators Exchange programme (2015-2017) a partnership initiative of Creative New Zealand, Canada Council for the Arts and Australia Council for the Arts. Recent writing projects include, a contributing essay to Becoming our Future, a new publication engaged in the discourse of Indigenous curatorial practice from New Zealand, Canada and Australia (2020).

Ashleigh Taupaki

Ashleigh Taupaki (Ngāti Hako, Samoan) is an artist and writer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Her work draws on ideas of oral tradition, and Māori concepts of place-making as it pertains to self-identification and ancestral association. Having completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, Taupaki hopes to continue creating works that consider the histories of people and place, and enables Māori voices in places where they were once excluded. Ashleigh has been commissioned to make a new work for Projects 2021 at the Art Fair, with support from Yu Mei. Her work will be exhibited at the new Yu Mei store in Newmarket (opening Feb 2021).


  • Free with admission


  • Fri 26 Feb


  • 3:00 pm — 4:30 pm


  • The Cloud
  • Queen's Wharf, 89 Quay Street
  • Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, 1010