Julie Paama-Pengally

Julie Paama-Pengally (born 1964) is a New Zealand tā moko artist, painter, commentator, and curator[1] of Māori (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāi Tūwhiwhia) descent.[2]

Education and early career

It was in 2003 that Paama-Pengally graduated with a Masters of Māori Visual Arts degree with honours from Massey University, Palmerston North. Prior to that she graduated with a diploma in teaching (1989), and a Master of Philosophy in third-world development (2003) also both from Massey University in Palmerston North. Paama-Pengally's undergraduate degree was a degree in social sciences (anthropology). She has also studied te reo Māori through Te Ataarangi.[1]

Her early work was in graphic design and advertising, Paama-Pengally went into teaching and taught art at secondary schools and at tertiary level.[1] During this time in the early 1990s she began her artistic engagement with tā moko (traditional Māori tattoo). At this time it was very unusual for a women to be involved in this art form. She was inspired to get into tā moko by Robert Jahnke and Derek Lardelli.[3][4] She says in an interview about being captured by the power of tā moko, ''I witnessed someone getting significant moko. I realised it was a powerful way for our community to claim their pride ... reclaiming positive forms of identity. At the time, I had no idea it was going to become such a popular form of identity.''[5]

Career and works

Paama-Pengally was the head of faculty between 2004 and 2007 of Te Toi Whakarei, Art and Visual Culture at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane.[1] Paama-Pengally has also taught at the Western Institute of Technology, Taranaki and Massey University, Wellington. She established a tattoo studio in Mt Maunganui in 2011 called Art + Body.[6][3]

Her art practice includes paintings, printmaking, installation, and tā moko. She has authored books on Māori art, curated art exhibitions and contributed to critical discourse on Māori art.[7][8]

Writer Awhina Tamapara says of Paama-Pengally's practice: "Exploring how Māori are portrayed by others (as opposed to how they portray themselves) is a predominant concern of her work. Her paintings are pardoxical – a direct response to the stereotypical, negative images of Māori. In her 'Broke' series, she has explored how Māori are portrayed commercially."[1]


  • Writer: A History on Skin – The Art of Ta Moko, Toi Maori Aotearoa, March, 2002
  • Author: Maori Art and Design New Holland Press, Auckland, May 2010 ISBN 9781869662448


  • Nga Korero Aoteatea – Fifty Maori Artists, Dowse Art Museum, Wellington 1999
  • Ta Moko is NOT Tattoo, interactive CD Rom Artpix 3 Houston, USA, 2001
  • Tau-Marumaru, Harris Fine Arts Center BYU, Utah USA 2005
  • Navigating the Now, Whakatane Museum & Gallery, 26 June-Aug 8 2010
  • Roundabout: 108 Artists, Wellington, Israel, 2007–2010


  1. ^ a b c d e Taiāwhio : conversations with contemporary Māori artists. Smith, Huhana. Wellington [N.Z.]: Te Papa Press. 2002. ISBN 0-909010-86-2. OCLC 50999083.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "Julie Ta Moko artist". [email protected]. Archived from the original on 18 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
  3. ^ a b Murray, Justine (6 April 2018). "Taa Moko Sessions: Julie Paama-Pengelly". RNZ. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  4. ^ Beri, Taryn (27 May 2015). "'Moko artists speak' Interview #1 Julie Paama-Pengelly". Taryn Beri. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  5. ^ Munro, Bruce (8 June 2015). "Identity etched in ink". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  6. ^ Morris, Pete (July 2013). "Julie Paama-Pengelly: Artist and Director of Art + Body (2013)". tauranga.kete.net.nz. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Page 1 of 1 | Items | National Library of New Zealand". natlib.govt.nz. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  8. ^ Massey University (2003). "Ta moko". Massey University. Archived from the original on November 2006.

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