Ngataiharuru Taepa (b.1976, Te Arawa, Te Āti Awa, Ngati Pākehā) was born in Upper Hutt and now lives and works in Palmerston North where he is Kaihautu Toi Maori - Director of Maori Arts at Massey University College of Creative Arts. Taepa’s interest in the visual arts began while attending Te Aute College in Napier, where he observed and assisted with the making of kōwhaiwhai panels for Te Whare o Rangi under the guidance of art teacher Mark Dashper. Studying at Massey University, Palmerston North with lecturers Robert Jahnke, Kura Te Waru Rewiri and Shane Cotton, Taepa completed his Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts in 2000, and his Masters in Māori Visual Arts in 2003.
In 2000 Taepa was elected onto Te Atinga, the Visual Arts Committee within the Māori arts organisation Toi Māori Aotearoa. Taepa’s involvement with different Toi Māori hui has created experiences of interaction with many artists from New Zealand and cultures throughout the Pacific. He sees these interactions as an important part of his creative process.
Taepa has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, with his work represented in signifcant collections including Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, and Auckland War Memorial Museum.
His current practice includes installation works which look at contemporary issues within New Zealand society, as well as paintings and wood works that are fueled by a childhood fascination with kōwhaiwhai.