Artwork Name: Mākereti Papakura
Artist Name: Dream Girls Art Collective
Location: 1160 Hinemoa Street
Medium: Painted mural
Mākereti Papakura, the renowned Te Arawa academic, guide and entertainer, was the subject chosen for the 2023 ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival Te Toki o Te Arawa mural series.
The bold and striking mural was created by the Dream Girls Collective and honoured Mākereti’s heritage through traditional Māori motifs, a taiaha in her hand, huia feather in her hair and tiki around her neck. Her ground-breaking thesis from Oxford University is held in her other hand.
She wears one boot, a hybrid taniwha/1900’s style boot to represent the merging of two worlds, the other barefoot shows she is grounded in knowing exactly who she is & her whakapapa.
Mākereti Papakura was born in Matatā in 1873 to an English father and a Māori mother, descended from Te Arawa chiefs.
After the devastating Tarawera eruption in 1886, Rotorua tourism was centred around the Whakarewarewa thermal valley and Mākereti became a renowned guide, entertainer and hostess. She wrote a book entitled ‘Guide to the Hot Lakes District’ and formed a concert party with her sister Bella. The concert party travelled to Sydney to perform and after that success, they were invited to England to perform.
Although she returned to Aotearoa, England called her back and she took on a BSc in Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Her thesis, The old-time Māori, was the first extensive published ethnographic work by a Māori scholar, and although academic in approach, it is based on traditionally acquired knowledge from te ao Māori.
Mākereti’s Māori heritage is honoured through traditional Māori motifs, a taiaha in her hand, huia feather in her hair and tiki around her neck. Her ground-breaking thesis is held in her other hand. She wears one boot, a hybrid taniwha/1900’s style boot to represent the merging of two worlds, the other barefoot shows she is grounded in knowing exactly who she is & her whakapapa. She is dynamic and strong, with the mural firmly placing her and her achievements in the 21st Century.
Credit: Dream Girls Art Collective, Mākereti Papakura, 2023. Commissioned by ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival.
About the artist: The Wellington-based Dream Girls Art Collective is a recently-founded group of renowned street artists including Miriama Grace-Smith, Xoë Hall and Gina Kiel.
The collective have brought their creative mahi together to find new ways of looking at street art. Their mahi in public space asserts the work of female artists in the traditionally male-dominated street art scene.
Their work adorns many public and private spaces in Aotearoa. Collaborating, using their well-established visual languages, they transform spaces into something different, powerful and striking.