A R A P E T A (mononymous) is a takatāpui artist of Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Te Wehi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngā Puhi, Te Rarawa, and Ngāti Porou tribal descent. A R A P E T A conceptualisess their creative practice as a vessel to explore their takatāpuitanga (Indigenous Trans Non-Binary identity, Pronouns They/Them). They describe themselves as a ‘weaver of stories through adornment, garments, objects, ngā waiata, ngā mōteatea, ngā kōrero tuku iho and images’ often creating references to the various traditional Māori art form passed down through their whakapapa (lineage). Their creative practice and vision draws upon their maatauranga and mahi as kai whatu kākahu (expert weaver) and conceptualises their physical and metaphysical creative works as kākahu.

They are a recent Masters graduate from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. They are recognised for this research project ‘He Taonga Tuku Iho’ that had incorporated ancestral knowledge to revive the making of kākahu parakiekie (rain cape made of the kiekie plant). This kaupapa had contributed to significant research and mātauranga of Parakiekie revival across many hapū Aotearoa and Te Wai Pounamu and in international museum collections that house Parakiekie such as the Smithsonian Washington DC on Turtle Island.

A R A P E T A is currently a doctoral candidate at the Elam School of Fine Arts researching the revival and preservation of Māori cloth making traditions of Aute Ngāti Whanaunga (Paper Mulberry of Ngāti Whanaunga) through performance, kanikani, mōteatea, waiata, and time-based mediums. An advocate for their hapū, the artist, is exploring a wānanga based approach to creative practice as a means to generate and perform mōteatea, kanikani, and kākahu.

They are activated in many kaitiaki roles, kōmiti and creative projects across their hapū and marae, significantly in the establishment of papakāinga in their Whenua Whaingaroa. They also are engaged with other kaupapa Māori relevant to their field as kaitiaki, knowledge holder, and creative collaborator. They have exhibited across Aotearoa, Te Wai Pounamu, Uk, and Asia and actively engage with museum collections locally and internationally.