Paora/Paul Tapsell is a local tribal member of the Arawa people of the Bay of Plenty. He was raised on the ancestral gardens of his grandparents, named Te Whatitiripataihi (the spine tingling thunderclap signaling time for autumn/fall harvest). This garden is part of a wider volcanic plateau forest-scape named Mamaku and has been part of Paul’s ancestry for over 16 generations.
He is Professor of Indigenous Studies at University of Melbourne and the former Dean and Chair of Māori Studies at the University of Otago (2009-2017) after being the inaugural Director Māori at Auckland War Memorial Museum. His exhibitions and publications are not only academic in nature, but also include very accessible books on taonga and leadership (Pukaki, 2000 & Ko Tawa, 2006, The Art of Taonga, 2011, Te Ara, 2013) and most recently a digital web service, designed to assist urban-raised Māori youth reconnect to their ancestral communities (www.maorimaps.com).