New information following the change in COVID-19 alert levels.

Master of Māori Visual Arts

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning

Great art creates great cultures

"The graduates from Toioho ki Apiti, our Māori visual arts programme] learn the skills that will take Māori art to the edge of innovation in world art. That has to be good for us as a people.” – Darcy Nicholas

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

The Master of Māori Visual Arts is a postgraduate research qualification. Many of New Zealand's most respected Māori artists have done their Masters through Toioho ki Apiti, (the Māori Visual Arts programme at Massey), while more recent graduates are attracting recognition as emerging talent.

Toioho ki Apiti, welcomes all indigenous and Pākehā artists by encouraging engagement in research and applied practices relevant to individual cultural contexts. If you are an international student thinking of studying Māori Visual Arts at Massey, please contact Massey's International Office for essential information about visa applications and other processes.
Studio is the centre

As a Master of Māori Visual Arts student, you will spend most of your time conceiving and making art, in a kaupapa Māori environment.

In the Masters programme, students pursue an individually designed programme of advanced studio practice in Māori or indigenous visual culture related to who they are (whakapapa) as well as their personal strengths and interests. The objective is to realise an individually conceived body of work that allows for the design and/or coordination of an exhibition.

A particular strength of the programme is that the degree structure and delivery embraces customary practices from carving to weaving to kowhaiwhai, yet fosters work that does not necessarily adhere to visual indicators of 'Māori' art. The work coming out of Toioho ki Apiti, especially at postgraduate level, often asks critical questions about identity and visual culture and exists at the interface of 'Western' and 'indigenous' art.

This is an advanced research qualification, so even students who choose to do a studio-only Masters study Māori research methodologies and submit a written exhibition report.

Flexible study

Students can study on campus, with studio space provided, or by distance. Full-time and part-time options are available, so you can fit study around work and whanau commitments.

Most students initially enrol in a Postgraduate Diploma in Māori Visual Arts, and transfer to the Masters programme for the second year if they achieve the required standard (B grade or above). Students spend most of their time in studio, although they can choose to include courses from Māori studies or museum studies.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. The Master of Māori Visual Arts will push you to produce your best creative work grounded in a deep understanding of Māori or indigenous visual culture. Your supervisors will challenge, guide, disrupt and support you, but most importantly they will help you develop your own unique creative practice.

International recognition

The College of Creative Arts at Massey University is world class. It is ranked in the top 100 by QS University rankings, and in 201 was ranked first in Asia Pacific for design concept by Red Dot. The College is NASAD approved as Substantially Equivalent.

We have the most top-ranked researchers in design, visual arts and craft in New Zealand, based on the 2018 Performance Based Research Funding round.

International applications

We welcome applications from suitably qualified international students. It is recommended that international students apply at least three months before the start date to allow for processing.

A good fit if you:

  • Want to expand your art practice
  • Would like to develop work with a strong Māori kaupapa that links you to global indigenous cultures
  • Seek mentorship and support from leading contemporary and traditional Māori artists
  • Want to take your career to the next level
Kelcy Taratoa - Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Raukawa
Master of Māori Visual Arts
Graduated in 2005

“Studying at Massey gave me a good sense of the making of New Zealand as a culture and where I fitted into that…”

Kelcy studied Māori visual arts at Massey because he wanted to be an artist. But what he discovered helped him form his very identity. As a person of Māori, but also Pakeha descent, Kelcy grew up in an urban environment with no strong sense of where he fitted culturally.

“Studying at Massey gave me a good sense of the making of New Zealand as a culture and where I fitted into that. That’s given me a really solid, strong base to then go out to the world, look it in the eye, and say ‘this is what I want to say’.”

It’s no surprise, then, that much of Kelcy’s work today deals with searching for identity. It’s a global theme, and that’s attracted the eye of a major world art patron. Kelcy says that growing interest in New Zealand artists is leading to huge international opportunities. His artworks were selected by prominent American collector David Taplitzky for inclusion in the international ‘Roundabout’ exhibition.


Most graduates of the Master of Māori Visual Arts have a full-time or part-time art practice. Many current students are employed as art teachers at secondary schools, polytechnics or wananga.

The following are just some of the artists who have completed postgraduate study through Toioho ki Apiti, Massey’s Maori Visual Arts programme.

  • Dr Huhana Smith (Ngati Takorehe)
  • Rangi Kipa (Taranaki, Te Atiawa Nui Tonu, Ngati Maniapoto)
  • Kura Te Waru-Rewiri (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahu, Ngati Rangi, Ngati Raukawa ki Kauwhata)
  • Sandy Adsett (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Pahauwera)
  • Wi Taepa (Te Arawa, Te Atiawa)
  • Tina Wirihana (Ngati Maniapoto - Raukawa, Ngati Pikiao)
  • Kohai Grace (Ngati Toa Rangatira, Ngati Porou, Te Ati Awa, Ngati Raukawa)
  • Steve Gibbs (Ngai Tamanuhiri)
  • Dr Areta Wilkinson (Kai Tahu)
  • Saffronn Te Ratana (Ngai Tuhoe)
  • Israel Tangaroa Birch (Ngapuhi, Ngati Kahungunu)
  • Reweti Arapere (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Parou, Ngati Tuwharetoa)
  • Bridget Reweti (Ngati Ranginui, Ngai te Rangi)
  • Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit, Aleut)
  • Natalie Ball (Klamath)
  • Ngahina Hohaia (Parihaka, Ngati Moeahu, Ngati Haupoto, Taranaki iwi)
  • Ngataiharuru Taepa (Te Arawa, Te Atiawa)
  • Hemi McGregor (Ngati Rakaipaaka, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tuhoe)
  • Kura Puke (Te Atiawa)
  • Regan Balzer (Te Arawa, Ngati Ranginui)
  • Chris Bryant (Ngati Porou)
  • Chanz Mikaere (Te Arawa, Mataatua)
  • Gina Matchitt (Ngati Rangitihi, Te Arawa, Ngati Ngahere, Whakatohea)

Supervisors with mana

The Māori Visual Arts staff are all active artists. Their creative practices range from painting to moving image.

Toioho ki Apiti, was founded by Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke (Ngai Taharora, Te Whanau a Iritekura, Te Whanau a Rakairoa o Ngati Porou), who is considered one of New Zealand’s leading contemporary Māori artists. Primarily a sculptor, he works with a range of media including found objects, wood, steel, lead and neon although he also has a MFA in graphic design from the Elam School of Fine Arts and a MFA in experimental animation from California Institute of the Arts. He has a PhD in Māori Studies from Massey University. His work asks what it means to be a Māori artist, often exploring the role and ubiquity of Christian symbolism in Māori visual culture.

For full profiles of Māori art and design practitioners at Massey, see the College of Creative Arts website

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