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Nigel borell

Pirirākau, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whakatōhea

Curator and Māori Art Advocate

Nigel Borell is of Pirirakau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea tribaldescent. He is a curator, writer, Māori arts advocate, educator and artist specializing in Māori art in both customary and contemporary fields of research.

Nigel has had an active role in the arts and culture sector spanning the past 25 years. His career began working on three meetinghouse projects under tohunga whakairo Pakariki Harrison and Peter Boyd followed by formal study at Massey University and Auckland University gaining a Master of Fine Arts (Hons) in 2003.

As a curator his key projects include Kura: Story of Māori Woman Artist, The Māngere Arts
Centre Ngā Tohu o Uenuku (2011), co-curating with Zara Stanhope, Moa Hunter Fashions by
Areta Wilkinson, for 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018) The Māori Portraits:
Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, and Todd Young Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2017).

Most recently Nigel curated the large survey exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art,
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (2020-2021), where he was the Māori art curator from
2015-2020. In 2023 he is co-curating Histōrias Indīgenas- Indigenous histories at the Museum
of Art (MASP), São Paulo, Brazil.

Nigel was the inaugural recipient of The New Zealand Art Foundation’s A Moment In Time – He
Momo. He was awarded for his contribution to New Zealand arts and culture in curating the
landmark exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art and made a Member of the New
Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori art in 2022. He is currently Curator Taonga Māori at The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira.

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