Insight into my practice

This painting is a representation of my mātauranga. It shows the mahi, kaupapa, training and skills that I have been gifted to share with ao-mārama – our world.

I acknowledge and honour the lens in which each of us may look at this peitatanga (painting).

Just as I regard legitimate knowledge as context specific and coloured by our whakapapa, pūrākau (story) our social and cultural positions, we may view this painting as representing different things for each of us.

I want to give you an insight into my pūrākau behind the peitatanga.


At the centre I placed the korari, the flower stalk, a strong, durable and important part of the harakeke (flax). Just as the korari feeds the tui, korimako and pihipihi, I hope that my mahi as a kaupapa Māori reseacher and community psychologist provides sustenance for our communities promoting social and cultural justice. The korari is purposefully placed at different angles and from different harakeke to honour my multi-faceted, diverse and inter-disciplinary foundations.


Marunu (Maroon) was chosen as the korari colour to represent Papatūānuku – mother earth, with its colour foundations in clay, representing healing and grounding.

Kakariki (green) raranga on the korari represents the ideas, initiatives and mahi that is woven together to hold strong my foundations in grass roots, bottom-up, inclusive and collaborative approaches.

Koura (gold) raranga at the top of the korari is a representation of my aspirations, visions and the horizons of our future, aspiring towards greatness, wellbeing and richness for all.

Waiporoporo (purple) was used on the tukutuku panels representing healing, hauora, (health and wellbeing) and the connection with wairua (spirit).

On the maihi of the marae, I chose waiporoporo and kakariki tapatoru to represent the time when Ranginui and Papatūānuku where connected as one.


The mania (mā/white) around the korari represents mauri (energy, vital essence) acknowledging kaupapa Māori, Indigenous and community psychology have permeable boundaries. It represents the essential quality and vitality that is in all of us and my puku strength to strive for social justice.

It represents the messiness that as a Kaupapa Māori researcher we are change agents, but sometimes that means working in silos in/with/for organisations. I also wanted the Mauri to reach beyond the borders of the peitatanga, never bounded by the physical forever reaching above and beyond.


The Marae represents He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi, our founding and living documents of Aotearoa, guiding me in my mahi and providing the platform to strive towards mana motuhake and tino Rangatiratanga for Māori.

The tuku panels represent whakapapa. I chose the poutama pattern associate to higher learning. I chose it to represent my never-ending pursuit to be better, learn, evaluate and improving in my mahi. The more I learn the less I know.

I chose it to represent my never ending pursuit to be better, learning, evaluating and improving in my mahi.


The night sky is a represents my navigation and orientation in this world.

The night sky is a represents of my navigation and orientation in this world.

The biggest star is Rehua, who lives in Te Putahi nui o Rehua. Hoa rangatira to Matariki. Rehua is immortal, considered the medicine man – he has the power to cure blindness, death, and disease. Being one of the brightest stars in the sky, he shines above us in winter. Recognition of when this painting came to life.

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa
Mauri Ora!


Published by Tākuta Teah

Indigenous woman, partner, māmā, sister, daughter, aunty, artist, story catcher/teller, researcher, evaluator and academic. I draw on these identities to express, connect and articulate kotahitanga, mana motuhake and aroha.

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