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Derek Lardelli

MFA (with Distinction), BA Fine Arts, Dip Tchg


I am a practising Tā Moko artist, painter,

carver, kapahaka performer, composer, graphic

designer, researcher of whakapapa and oral

histories and kaikōrero. The focus of my work

is first and foremost in my connection to home,

to Tairāwhiti, the Marae and my role as an

arts educator and mentor at Toihoukura.


I received an NZ Arts Foundation Laureate

award in 2004, was the inaugural Gallipoli

artist-in-residence in 2006, and was awarded

the honour of Officer of the NZ Order of Merit

in 2008.


As chairperson for Te Uhi a Mataora Tā  Moko

Arts collective, I have been heavily involved

in the retention and development of the

rituals, karakia and oral histories associated

with Tā Moko.  My research also involves the

introduction of new technology to contemporary

Tā  Moko and I have developed a visual data

base of personal works and that of other Tā 

Moko Artists.


As a designer, I have researched and directed major art components for high profile events such as the Olympic Team to Athens and the Commonwealth Games in both Melbourne and Beijing.  As a sculptor I have completed major projects such as the Maui Whakairo for Hikurangi as part of the Ngāti Porou millennium.

I am a researcher and composer of many waiata, haka and mōteatea that capture the oral histories of Te Tairāwhiti.  Since 1995 I have been a performer and leader of Whāngārā mai Tawhiti Kapa Haka. I am a cultural advisor to the All Blacks and composed their Haka, Kapa O Pango, performed at the Rugby World Cup in 2011.


My research titled Te Whakarei Whakaaro – Te Raurangi focuses upon contemporary waiata and cross referencing this to traditional composition. I am interested in how both contribute to language revitalization within an arts context, portraying a future pathway for our youth. Waiata is to follow the water and to reflect properly what is happening in the water, to be true to what you are saying. This is the platform for my work and research.


For example see: Lardelli, D. (2011). Kapa O Pango. (Haka for the New Zealand All Blacks. Rugby World Cup).

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