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Huhana Smith

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Huhana Smith
Smith in 2019
Born1962 (age 61–62)
Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia
NationalityNew Zealand
Known forPainting
Notable workE Tū Ake: Māori Standing Strong

Susan Margaret Smith MNZM (born 1962), known as Huhana Smith, is a contemporary New Zealand artist and academic, and head of Whiti o Rehua School of Art at Massey University.[1][2] Between 2003 and 2009, she was senior curator Māori at Te Papa.[2][3]


Born in 1962 in Yarrawonga, Victoria, Australia,[4] Smith is of Māori descent and affiliates to Ngāti Tukorehe and Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga.[5] Smith had an art practice in Melbourne, Australia in the late 1980s.[6] She came to New Zealand in 1993 to pursue studies in Māori language.[7] She was the first graduate from the Toioho ki Āpiti (Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts) programme at Massey in 1997.[8] She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies (1998) and a PhD in Māori Studies from Massey University.


Smith has worked at Te Puni Kōkiri and at Te Papa.[6] Whilst at Te Papa she was the general editor of a number of books about Māori arts where she profiled contemporary artists such as Wi Taepa, Lisa Reihana, Kura Te Waru Rewiri and Saffronn Te Ratana, and also taonga tuku iho (ancestral Māori treasures) from Te Papa's collections.[9][10]

In 2016 Smith took the head role at Whiti o Rehua School of Arts at Massey University in Wellington.[6]

Smith's recent research, part of a large interdisciplinary project with Vision Mātauranga Deep South Challenge National Science Challenge funding[11] combines mātauranga Māori methods with science to actively address climate change concerns for coastal Māori lands in Horowhenua-Kāpiti.[12] It was exhibited in the Dowse Art Museum as part of the exhibition This Time of Useful Consciousness: Political Ecology Now in 2017.[13]

Publications and exhibitions[edit]

  • Taiāwhio: Conversations with Contemporary Māori Artists, 2002, Te Papa Press.[14]
  • Taiāwhio 2: 18 New Conversations Contemporary Māori Artists, 2007, Te Papa Press.[14]
  • E Tū Ake: Māori Standing Strong,[15] 2011, Te Papa Press.

Honours and awards[edit]

Smith (second from right) at a reception in Auckland in 2020 for Pacifica Mamas – Matairangi Mahi Toi. The governor-general, Dame Patsy Reddy, is second from left.

Smith was a finalist in the Art Waikato National Art Awards in 2000 and 2002.[1]

Smith (left), after her investiture as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit by the governor-general, Dame Cindy Kiro, at Government House, Wellington, on 22 September 2023

In the 2023 King's Birthday and Coronation Honours, Smith was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the environment.[16]


  1. ^ a b "Ferner Galleries | Huhana Smith". www.fernergalleries.co.nz. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Massey Women of Influence: Dr Huhana Smith". Massey University. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  3. ^ CircleSoft. "E Tu Ake: Maori Standing Strong". The Women's Bookshop. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  4. ^ "S H R I N K I N G – W O R L D S". www.physicsroom.org.nz. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Climate change scientists look to Māori and other indigenous people for answers". Stuff. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Smith, Huhana; Rewiri, Kura Te Waru (1 January 2023), "Huhana Smith and Kura Te Waru-Rewiri", Ki Mua, Ki Muri, pp. 65–102, retrieved 23 January 2024
  7. ^ "Huhana Smith". www.storylines.org.nz. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  8. ^ Barnett, Cassandra; Rewiri, Kura Te Waru, eds. (1 January 2023). Ki Mua, Ki Muri: 25 years of Toiohi ki Āpiti. Massey University Press. ISBN 978-1-9911511-5-5.
  9. ^ "Taiāwhio: Conversations with Contemporary Māori Artists". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Toi Ora: Ancestral Māori Treasures". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, NZ. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  11. ^ "Climate Change & Coastal Māori Communities". Deep South National Science Challenge. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Contemporary Feminism: Art and/or Science | City Gallery Wellington". citygallery.org.nz. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  13. ^ "This Time of Useful Consciousness—Political Ecology Now | The Dowse Art Museum". dowse.org.nz. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  14. ^ a b Taiāwhio : conversations with contemporary Māori artists. Smith, Huhana. Wellington [N.Z.]: Te Papa Press. 2002. ISBN 0909010862. OCLC 50999083.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  15. ^ Smith, Huhana. (2011). E tū ake : Māori standing strong. Wellington, N.Z.: Te Papa Press. ISBN 9781877385698. OCLC 703605282.
  16. ^ "The King's Birthday and Coronation honours list 2023". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 5 June 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.