2022 Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate receiving the Theresa Gattung Female Arts Practitioners Award
Maureen’s artwork draws inspiration from woven fibre taonga in museum collections as well as from contemporary installation art. She first began learning cloak-making skills from noted Māori weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa, and spent many years researching fibre arts. Since her retirement from university teaching, Maureen has continued to make and exhibit her own creative work, mainly in the form of large fibre installations such as Flatpack Whakapapa which opened at the Dowse Museum in 2017; exploring the connections between whakapapa and raranga (Māori weaving) by using an everyday motif like the flat-pack design.
As an artist, Maureen is committed to innovation in a way that is deeply collaborative. In 2020 she worked with the Mata Aho Collective on a large installation titled Atapō for the Auckland Art Gallery’s major exhibition of Maori art, Toi Tu Toi Ora, for which they later won the prestigious Walter’s Prize. Over several months in 2021-22, Maureen worked with a group of eight Auckland University students to complete a commissioned artwork for the new atrium of the Engineering School at Auckland University titled Pou Iho. Maureen received a Te Waka Toi Kingi Ihaka award in 2019, and a Queen’s Birthday MNZM honour in 2020.
“Becoming an Arts Foundation Laureate is like being welcomed into an extended whānau of special people, some of whom I am already familiar with or know well and others who I’ve never met. It’s a great honour, and a nice feeling of belonging.”