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Koorero Toi: Tāwhanga Nopera – Toi is Rongoaa

10 Nov, 2022

Tāwhanga Nopera will present a screening of his Toi is Rongoaa installation, discussing the mahi of trans people.

Tāwhanga Nopera will discuss the mahi of trans people and present a screening of his installation featured in Waikato Museum’s exhibition Toi is Rongoaa. Attendance is free for this artist talk but please register online as numbers are limited.

Content advisory: This event will include themes of violence and suicide, and is not suitable for children.

Tāwhanga Nopera (PhD, MFA, Dip. Art and Design, Dip. Māori and Indigenous Studies) is an artist and academic who has whakapapa to Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Wahiao, Tūhourangi, Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Tarawhai, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Āmaru and Ngāi Tawake.

Tāwhanga’s research and art investigates marginality and is grounded by te pā harakeke, or the nurturing family structure at the heart of Māori identity. Through raranga – the traditions of Māori weaving – he explores the forms of relational knowledge within our bodies. Tāwhanga has a particular interest in ways that individuals are impacted upon by notions of power, and seeks out transformative pathways from traumatic experiences.

“I was the black one, people could see me, I couldn’t hide. Visibility and invisibility are my pou, I transverse a dimension between. It’s often a problem, but also a solution. I try my hardest to stay in a solution frame of mind.”

“In this kōrero, “Transness in confusion: The mahi of trans people”, I discuss the artwork and intentions for Bookworm, an installation as part of Toi is Rongoaa at Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. Trans, non-binary, Takatāpui, gender diverse, genderfluid, alien – these are all emerging identities within a world of confused definitions and definitives.”

“I am not broken, the world is broken and I am out there living on the edge creating the thoughts, actions and things that are new. It is freakishly hard work, but I am a whole person. I feel sorry for cis-gendered people. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live half a life.”


Toi is Rongoaa celebrates fourteen contemporary Maaori artists who believe in the importance of creative practice to their wellbeing. The invited artists have been supported by Creative New Zealand to make new work and share this essential kaupapa with our community.


10 Nov, 2022
5.30pm - 6.30pm


Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
1 Grantham Street
Hamilton Central

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