Wikuki Kingi: carving a new creative path
1 December 2021
Wikuki Kingi is the new Kaiārahi for the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries (CAI).
A tōhunga toi ake and master carver is the inaugural kaiārahi for the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland.
Wikuki Kingi's appointment comes at a time when the faculty has a growing Māori academic workforce, student body and research projects being done in collaboration with hapū and iwi.
“Mātauranga Māori encompasses knowledge that Māori ancestors brought to Aotearoa New Zealand and have passed down to the present generation,” says Associate Professor Nuala Gregory, acting Dean of CAI after Professor Diane Brand’s retirement.
This includes the knowledge and creation of toi (art), haka, whare (architecture), design, waiata and dance.
“These are the arts and industries of CAI and we’re so excited to have Wikuki take on this new role. We’re still pinching ourselves,” Nuala says.
As the Kaiārahi, Wikuki will work with staff across the University to better embed kaupapa Māori pedagogies and mātauranga Māori into CAI programmes, in the teaching and the student experience, and strengthen relationships with Māori communities. He will also work with Pacific communities, enhancing their connections to CAI and the University.
This is a time of great change in the world – for universities to find new ways to teach, to do research, and add value to our communities.
Wikuki traces his whakapapa to many of the tribes of Tāmaki Makaurau, Manukau and beyond, including Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Mahuta, Waikato and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui.
He spent his formative years learning skills at a number of marae, including Tūrangawaewae, Kirikiriroa, Tōrere and Te Puea. He has been carving for more than 50 years, working with Pacific and Indigenous communities around the world, along with “a bit of tattooing, drawing, working with bronze, steel and stone”.
As director of Te Ranga Traditional Arts Academy, he has led a number of carving teams from around Aotearoa New Zealand and is a founding member of Whaotapu, a collective of tohunga toi ake keeping toi Māori alive.
“I take this role on with such joy,” Wikuki says. “This is a time of great change in the world, and for universities to find new ways to teach, and to do research, and add value to our communities.
“It’s really a moment of evolution ... for us Māori, it’s a revolution.”
This item first appeared in the December 2021 issue of UniNews.
Creative Arts and Industries
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