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Julie Paama-Pengelly

Julie Paama-Pengelly has been at the forefront of developments in Māori Arts since the mid 1980s and was fortunate to have been taught herself by strong visionary Māori artists and mentors through the Toioho ki Apiti Bachelor of Māori Arts programme, of which she was a foundation student and served as student mentor.


Julie has a passion for Māori design and Tā moko-skin marking traditions, pioneering the role of women as Tā moko practitioners during the Tā moko revival period in the 1990s. Her subsequent experiences as an educator, writer, curator, designer and artist practitioner have influenced her ongoing drive to strategize Māori arts and artists development, culminating in her current role as chairperson of Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust (2015).

Julie holds Masters qualifications in Third World Development and Māori Visual Arts (honours) as well as Toi Iho certification - a unique registered Aotearoa New Zealand trademark of Māori quality and authenticity - for Tā moko, design and multimedia. She has served as Industry Advisor Māori Arts for the Ministry of Education, External Moderator for Te Kura Toi programmes at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, held Senior Lectureships and served as Head of Faculty: Arts and Visual Culture, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, from 2004 to 2007. In 2010, she penned the award-winning book Māori Art & Design, the first comprehensive handbook on the subject.

Julie has directed leadership in research and social commentary on Māori arts and understands the importance of evolving art in her own work creation which explores a range of media located within a unique Māori pedagogical framework. Julie balances her art practice against the demands of her other strategic work, which includes commissioned Māori design, public works and curatorial, painted works and printmaking as well as 3D sculpture and the crafting tattoo hand tools.

“Julie has a lifelong commitment to learning and teaching, and these fundamentals of her life have enabled her to help others dream bigger, and achieve goals. Her empathy and unique style of ta moko - the art of Māori tattoo - allows the receiver of this unique and very personal expression of their history and identity, to be at total ease during this transformational experience”. From ‘Spirit’ Conversations with Creative Women 2021.

Julie Paama-Pengelly currently practises from her studio Art + Body in Mount Maunganui where she apprentices tattooists and evolves her own tā moko and art practice to cater for a range of clientele.

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