[image credit: Gisborne Herald]
To profile an artist with words, is like writing a thesis with a chisel. Although a ‘chisel-themed’ thesis wouldn’t be entirely impossible; describing Nick Tupara with words is just a grain of sand in comparison to the wealth of knowledge he brings to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
“I started off as a carver and have been carving since high school,” he says.
“My grand-uncle, Tame Ihimaera, was a carver and one of the original trustees for The Whakatohea Trust Board. In those days, kids weren’t allowed to hang around the carvers, but I would stand and watch.”
Now instead of watching, Nick is embracing an opportunity to teach the Certificate in Māori and Indigenous Art - Kawai Raupapa Level 4 & 5 Rauangi (Visual Arts) – at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Ōpōtiki.
He says it’s not just his toi background that attracted him to the role, but his connection to the Ōpōtiki area.
“A part of my story is my tipuna come from here, the Tuparas are buried here, that’s why I chose to come to Ōpōtiki.”
Through kōrero with Nick, it is apparent that the teachings he holds in high regard come from his whānau/tīpuna. It comes from his connection with the whenua, it comes from those around him. Nick was born with a special gift that has enabled him to retain information, thus he is able to share this with our tauira (students) and those who he encounters.
“In my time of life, I haven’t had an opportunity to come back to this part of myself in a creative medium that I’m comfortable with. My shyness to have a go is long gone now, in any creative medium. I just live in a contemporary time, and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa gives me the capability to live like that.”
If you are interested in learning locally in Ōpōtiki through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, visit our Ōpōtiki campus page.