• Simon Kaan
  • Wi Taepa

Sanderson are pleased to present Maumahara, an exhibition featuring the work of Simon Kaan and Wi Taepa.

Kaan and Taepa are two of the most influential senior artists working in ngā toi Māori and Aotearoa today.

Kaan (born 1971, Otepoti/Dunedin) is a celebrated painter and print maker. As a third-generation New Zealander of Chinese, Māori (Ngāi Tahu) and Pākeha ancestry the artist discusses how his mixed heritage often informs his practice. Kaan is known for his serene and dreamlike paintings and prints where land, sea and sky dominate, and the waka is a regular motif. In his paintings the artist juxtaposes panels alongside oneanother in parallel forms, while washes of Chinese ink are applied in intricate and delicate layers.

Wi Te Tau Pirika Taepa ONZM (born 1946, Poneke/Wellington) is a New Zealand ceramicist of Ngāti Pikiao, Te-Roro-o-Te-Rangi, Te Arawa and Te Āti Awa descent. He is recognised as a leading figure in contemporary New Zealand ceramics, and has been at the forefront of promoting uku, the medium of clay, within te ao Māori since the mid 1980’s. Taepa is known for shaping clay by hand to make his vessels and sculptures. Drawing from his cultural heritage, Taepa uses and re-designs kowhaiwhai, tukutuku and weaving patterns to decorate his pieces.

This exhibition will bring together a selection of artworks that the artists have made in collaboration with one another. Six new paintings and a group of works on paper will feature by Kaan, alongside new ceramic pieces by Taepa.

Kaan and Taepa have a friendship and family ties that go back many years, and they have historically collaborated before.

‘The element of whakapapa and friendship is present in the coming together of the artworks made for this exhibition... Simon states emphatically that he is no longer interested in the exhibiting process only being about himself. Having a community is a motivating factor to working with Wi in this way - the coming together of minds and creative worlds.’ [1]

Throughout the process of making their artworks for the exhibition Kaan and Taepa have been in regular conversation, putting together their thoughts and feelings and creating a kaupapa to share in the show.

Kaan discusses the notion of Tuakana-Teina within the discourse of their work – Tuakana-Teina is a traditional Māori cultural philosophy and practice, which refers to the educational relationship between an older and younger sibling, or close family members like cousins. The practice has gained new meanings in areas of education, being used to describe the relationship between trained and untrained people, or those who are experienced helping the inexperienced. Depending on the environment, the educator can become the learner, and at times the learner can assume the educator role.

While making his artworks for the show Kaan has reflected on the influence his tutor, award winning printmaker Dr Marilynn Webb (Ngāpuhi, Te Roroa), has had on his practice.

‘The teachers we have help to make us’ he says

The title Maumahara, which translates to ‘to remember, to recall, to reminisce’, gestures to the notion of memory and how this can be rendered and manifest within one’s work. It also refers to Tuakana-Teina and the idea of knowledge and experience being recalled and then shared and passed down.

[1] Excerpt from an essay written by artist and writer Maia McDonald (Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa), who was taught by Kaan and Taepa, and will accompany the exhibition.

Opening Hours

  • Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm


  • Osborne Lane, 2 Kent Street
  • Newmarket
  • Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, 1023