On being present…

artist text / Mere Taylor-Tuiloma

Present Tense_WorksList_KAI1
Te Pū o Te Wheke Arts Works List / design: Catherine Griffiths w/ poster, ĀKAU Wāhine

We are a group of wāhine who work for ĀKAU, the majority of whom work in the Kaikohe ĀKAU Studio, whilst our other wāhine live south of us but are connected through our design and workspaces online. Working in and around Kaikohe keeps us connected to our community and to the Taitamariki who are our greatest inspirational leaders of our future now.

We were invited to be a part of this kaupapa by Anamaria Heremaia, our Director based in Te Taitokerau. She wanted to share this platform with all of us, nō reira tēnā koe. Each of us contributed a ‘tohu’, or mark, to this project and we eventually created our Whare Wahine Toi o ĀKAU poster, Mana Wahine, mai i a Ranginui ki a Papatūānuku — te whenua ki te moana. What you see is our combined presence in ‘our present’ for wherever we are and whenever we are … there we are now.


As a collective of wāhine toi, each of us have our own view of what being ‘present’ means to us. For this contextual writing I can only offer my view of being ‘present’ … which is ‘it depends’.

It depends upon my state and my outcome for me, in any context. It means that I am present in my past, present and future all at the same time, it just depends on my state of being and my outcome for me and those I love, and who love me in return.

In the context of this poster, my present was my state of being open to sharing and my outcome was to be the kind of person who could share my tohu.

My moko kauae is my tohu. It represents everything that I love about being me and being Māori. It is my present in this space of designers, it is my past and it is my future.

On behalf of ngā wāhine toi o ĀKAU we thank the wāhine o Te Pū o Te Wheke Trust and their tāne for taking on this exhibition and for providing a place, and a space, for ‘Present Tense: Wahine Toi Aotearoa’ to be shared with the people of Kaikohe and Te Taitokerau, tēnā koutou katoa.


Mere Taylor-Tuiloma / wahine toi
August 2019

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essay / Disappointing the past and failing the future / Emma Ng, October 2019

curatorial text / From Protest to Present / Sophie Davis, October 2019

essay / Towards A Wider Understanding of Design / Michelle Wang, October 2019

essay / Te Marama / The Moon / Elle Loui August, September 2019

interview / Painting the town red / Jeremy Hansen, September 2019

essay / Mauri — an opportunity to connect / Desna Whaanga-Schollum, August 2019

artist text / On being present… / Mere Taylor-Tuiloma, August 2019

essay / Snakes, Ladders and Tables / Chloe Geoghegan, July 2019

curatorial text / No longer the exception / Lucy Wardle, August 2019

essay / Broken record / Lana Lopesi, April 2019

curatorial text / This present future / Wendy Richdale, April 2019

radio / Erin Broughton & Catherine Griffiths / Yujin Shin, August 2019

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return to Present Tense : Wāhine Toi Aotearoa