Fine Arts Tuākana

Information about Tuākana support available to Elam students at the University of Auckland.

Tuākana mentors

Albert Ashton

"My name is Albert Ashton. I am of Māori, Scottish, and English descent. I grew up in two small towns, Whangateau (Far North Island) and Havelock North (Hawkes Bay). This is my first year as a tuākana (mentor), and I am in my fourth year of my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree.

"The Tuākana programme is a great opportunity to develop and grow as an artist; and to learn about the uniqueness of Māori and Pacific art.

"Here at the programme we offer one-on-one help with students, studio critiques (where we have group discussions about individuals’ artworks) and much more. We are a family at Tuākana, and it is mine and my colleagues’ duties to make sure you feel welcome, safe and happy while studying.

"I am around Elam nearly every day and will be tutoring first-year critical studies in the first semester, so do not hesitate to say hi!

"Embrace all opportunities that arise, and most of all have fun.

"See you all very soon!"

Ara Ariki Houkamau

"Ko Hikurangi me Raemaru ōku maunga
Ko Waiapu me Murivai ōku awa
Ko Horouta me Puaikura ōku waka
Ko Ngāti Porou tōku iwi
Ko Arorangi te oire
Ko Ara Ariki Houkamau tōku ingoa

"Kia ora, my name is Ara Ariki and I’m a third-year student at Elam School of Fine Arts. I grew up in a rural town on the East Coast of New Zealand in Te Araroa, where I attended Awatere Kohanga Reo and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti. Since moving to Auckland, the Tuākana whānau at Elam have been my go-to peeps. Through the programme, I have been able to form connections with other tauira (students) Māori and Pasifika. That for me gives a sense of whānau and community. This is important, as whānau (community) and hapū (groups within a community) have always been central to my education.

"I feel fortunate to be a part of this whānau where we tautoko (support) and manaaki (care for) each other through university. As a current mentor I am driven to help our people by nurturing them into becoming future leaders, 'ngā rangatira mō āpōpō'."


Naawie Tutugoro

"Kia Orana, my name is Naawie Tutugoro and I am a third year Fine Arts student at Elam.

"I am currently finalising the curation of an exhibition in association with Tautai Pacific Arts Trust, which explores Pacific identity.

"I intend on entering honours in my fourth and final year, so this year is really important to me. After graduating, I plan to apply for an artist residency with The Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia. I have a strong desire to learn about the indigenous heritage of my father who is Kanak.

"The Tuākana programme has proven to be a great support network, especially in your first year. It is a safe space where you can receive feedback and fresh perspectives with work, one-on-one or in a group.

"We recognise the importance of support mechanisms during study, so we aim to be as communal as possible. Through Tuākana you meet like-minded people with unique opportunities to network and connect whilst at University.

"As we progress through the university environment, we realise that the value of compassion and consideration towards one another is integral to growth and acceptance of one’s self. It is initiatives like Tuākana which stand for raising awareness and promoting acceptance of each other’s cultural identities.

"I am honoured to be given this opportunity to help you all strive. Looking forward to it."

Tuākana Room

The Fine Arts Tuākana Room is located in Seminar Room A of the Main Fine Arts Building, and is available for Māori and Pacific Fine Arts students to use for study and relaxation.

More information.

Tuākana workshops

  • Tuākana workshops are designed for Māori and Pacific students at Elam and are held by the tuākana (mentors) for Fine Arts.
  • Our tuākana are high-achieving Māori and/or Pacific students who have taken your courses, know how to get good grades and are dedicated to helping you achieve. Not only are they clever, but they are also friendly and supportive – they are easy to approach and happy to advise you about your courses.
  • Tuākana workshops are run in addition to the compulsory tutorials and lectures that you enrol in. If you’re a Māori or Pacific student taking a course for which workshops are run, you are strongly encouraged to attend your compulsory tutorials and lectures as well as your Tuākana workshops.

Semester One

Workshops for Subject Tutors
FINEARTS 101 Studio 1.1 Naawie, Albert & Ara 
FINEARTS 104 Introduction to Critical Studies Naawie, Albert & Ara 
FINEARTS 105 Critical Studies Naawie, Albert & Ara 
FINEARTS 207 Studio Practice 1 Naawie, Albert & Ara 

Semester Two

Workshops for Subject Tutors
FINEARTS 102 Studio 1.2 Naawie, Albert & Ara 
FINEARTS 103 Drawing and Related Practices Naawie, Albert & Ara 
FINEARTS 208 Studio Practice 2   Naawie, Albert & Ara 

Join our Facebook group

If you’re a Māori or Pacific Elam student at any level, please join our Facebook group. This is a positive and supportive community where students can share information, ask and answer questions and build friendships. Naawie, Albert and Ara are active members and use the group to post reminders, supplement Tuākana workshops and respond to students’ questions.