Toi Māori Artist | Wharehoka Smith | Taranaki | Aotearoa | New Zealand
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WharehokaSmith is of Māori whakapapa and Pākehā ancestry, a Kaihoahoa Toi (artist designer), creating from his ancestral base of Taranaki.


WharehokaSmith demonstrates a progressive aptitude toward Toi Māori.  Constantly evolving well practised ideas he looks to the vast historical catalogue of customary Mahi Toi as the critical resource for his practice. Without doubt these Taonga and the customary practices which influenced their creation is an historical confirmation which would support a methodology to shape and re shape, bond and re bond, perceived traditions, ancient designs shapes and forms, new media… while still maintaining the ideals to, record information, tell stories, inspire imagination, entertain, remain relevant, uphold mana…


“There is an absolute treasure trove of material which exists in the corners and recesses of  Aotearoa New Zealand.  The hidden dialogue of people and place, forgotten or seldom told stories and captivating historical events. All have helped shape the landscape and history of this country and the hearts and minds of its people”.


How does one be a good custodian to these Taonga, show and appreciate, honour, respect and celebrate the treasures of Toi Māori?   WharehokaSmith works from a position of inheritance applying long held well evolved artistic customs, traditions, shapes and forms to, utilising developing and applying these elements to new heights of scale, placement, location, interpretation and appreciation.


“Aotearoa New Zealand as we know it, is today waiting to be re- discovered,  thrust forward,  acknowledged and celebrated.  This too is the future, the vision and the potential for the customary visual art forms of Toi Māori”.

Title – Waituhi
Description – Banner mural.
Year – 2015
Media – Digital illustration on printed vinyl.
Dimension – 33M X 3.4M
Special thanks to – TAG, Wellington, digital printing; Studio 88 Stratford Taranaki, digital editing;
WCC, Wellington.

Title – Kūreitanga ii.iv.
Description – Kōwhaiwhai – customary painting.
Year – 2016
Media – acrylic on gypsum wall board.
Dimension – 8M wide X 10M high.
Special thanks to – Len Lye, Govett Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth Taranaki.

“Kūreitanga II. IV.” is inspired by an ancient Taranaki kōrero still referred to today as a resource of guiding principles and best behavior toward the maintenance of the environment.


Additionally, Kūreitanga also refers to the physical form of the Taranaki coastline from its ancestral boundaries to the north and south.

WharehokaSmith discusses what Te Tiriti o Waitangi  means to him and it’s importance to all of us as people.

This is a short excerpt from the forthcoming documentary about WharehokaSmith’s first ambitious exploration into to sculpting with steel.


Inkjet print on stretched canvas miniature reproduction 9M X 0.9M, for the 2016 “Taranaki ki Tai” Exhibition at Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford Taranaki.


This wall assemblage is a progressive focus on the element “Unaunahi” (the fish scale). This element more typically is seen being used in the discipline of rākau whakairo (wood carving). Here the artist explores its potential within the discipline of Kōwhaiwhai (the painted rafter discipline) constructed with alternative media and repeated sculptural forms. Removed from the ceiling rafters and re- imagined as a three dimensional wall assemblage, WharehokaSmith explores new opportunity and architectural potential.

Title – Unaunahi iii
Description – Kōwhaiwahi – Customary painting and wall assemblage.
Year – 2016
Media – Acrylic paint, wood stain, 12oz stretched canvas, 20mm ply wood.
Dimension – 5.7M X 1.2M
Special thanks to –, Christchurch, Canvas & Plywood,
Percy Thomson Gallery, Stratford, Taranaki, exhibition.