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Bethany Matai Edmunds

Position title:
​Associate Curator, Māori
Human History
Contact Bethany

About Bethany

He uri ahau no Muriwhenua, engari kua tupu ake au kei Tāmaki Makaurau. I am a descendant of the far northern iwi of Ngāti Kuri, and born and raised here in Auckland City. I am a weaver and Contemporary Māori artist with a background in material culture research and working with Taiohi (youth). As Associate Curator Māori, I am humbled and privileged to work with taonga Māori every day to facilitate research and access for whanau and artists. In my work, I also provide opportunities to re-surface old knowledge, encourage new knowledge and explore new ways to present our taonga to wider audiences. 

Research interests and projects

I hold a Bachelor of Applied Arts: Māori Design and Technology which I achieved in 2000 from Northtech, in Whangarei. At which time I developed my work as a fibre sculptor and learned traditional cloak weaving through wananga with whaea Nikki Lawrence of Te Rarawa. In 2010 I graduated with a Master of Arts: Visual Culture from New York University. My thesis research was ‘He Kākahu Māori: Māori Cloaks in American Museums; Conservation, Storage and Display’, which gave me the opportunity to do a cross institutional comparison between four Museums including the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of Natural History, Peabody Essex Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. My personal research is materialised through my mahi toi (visual art) which is inspired by tupuna korero (ancestral stories). I re-imagine these stories from an urban Māori perspective, and explore them through weaving materials and techniques. As an artist and weaver I am continuously inspired by the incredible work of our tupuna and the wealth of knowledge woven in to the fibres and carved in the lines of taonga Māori.  

Related links

Vou dance Company Auckland Museum Fiji Collections Activation, 2015:

Youth Advisory Group, Auckland Museum, 2015. 
Interview with Bethany Matai Edmunds, artist 2014. 

Matariki in the Museum, 2014. 

Urbanlife 2012, Auckland Museum's Youtube channel. 

Urbanlife 2012, Triangle TV. 

The Power and Taboo of Pasifika Styles, article 2009. 

Matariki Exhibition 2008.