Hiria Anderson (b.1974, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura, Rereahu) holds an MFA with First Class Honours from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design. Through her practice Anderson surveys her immediate surroundings and those individuals and relationships within her community of Ōtorohanga. The artist captures in detail the intimacy, incongruity, and poeticism of the everyday and with it the interplay between tikanga Māori and contemporary municipal life. While her works regularly convey bustling activity, they are equally occupied by a sense of absence; painstakingly depicting figures from obscure viewpoints, vacant spaces, or the minutiae of discarded objects.
Anderson works from her studio on Tūrongo St where her grandparents lived and raised their children and granddaugher. Her grandparents were creatives in the traditional forms of Mahi Raranga and Whakairo. They were highly influential in Anderson's early years as she was witness to their prolific art practice.
Anderson's grandparents were involved in Ngā Puna Waihanga - a Māori Arts Movement established in the 1980’s - that Anderson joined in the 1990s. These early immersions in art lead Anderson to enrol in Te Kura Toi - Visual Arts tutored by James Ormsby and Eugene Kara, where she studied painting, drawing, sculpture and art history.