Sandy Adsett (pictured left) with Cody Hollis (pictured right).
After 20 years’ service to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, arts icon Dr Sandy Adsett retired from his teaching role at Toimairangi in Heretaunga (Hastings) in July.
Sandy established Toimairangi School of Māori Visual Art with a core group of supportive teachers including Michelle Mataira, Chris Bryant-Toi, Hiwirori Maynard, and Wilray Price. In the early days the leadership team included Hastings artist Jacob Scott.
As a part of a national delivery programme of Māori visual art for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Toimairangi has represented an exceptional standard or work and an ongoing commitment to the people it serves.
A recognised feature of the teaching practice at Toimairangi was the focus on the value of manaakitanga in all aspects of the delivery and teaching.
Along with teaching the skills of an artist, Sandy also ensured his students developed as people and grew in their ways of being as much as in their creative practice.
Sandy had a well-developed sense of humour, and is also noted for his love of good kai, hosting people and his passion for travel.
His selfless giving to Toi Māori over many years was communicated perfectly by long-time friend June Grant at the opening of his exhibition Toi Koru at Pātaka in Porirua in July.
She described in so many ways what we all have experienced with Sandy over many year, the kindness, the laughter and the indomitable spirit of a true legend in Māori art.
More recently, Sandy has been involved in the development of Iwi Toi Kahungunu, which has become one of his legacies and a graduate collective destination for many of his students. Sandy and the graduates of this school continue to maintain artistic energy in the Heretaunga community with various events and exhibitions.
In late November Sandy convened the presentation panel for the Level 7 Maunga Kura Toi Bachelor of Māori Art students, completing his mahi with the students he has brought through to their final year. He was joined on the panel by our new degree kaiako Tracy Keith and graduate Michelle Nicholl.
We wish Sandy the very best of everything retirement has to offer and thank him for his outstanding contribution to the arts and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.