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Nikau hindin

Ngāi Tūpoto ki Motukaraka, Te Rarawa ki Hokianga, Ngāpuhi

Indigenous Contemporary Artists Specializing in Aute

Nikau Hindin is a barkcloth maker who works with Aute (paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera) and natural earth pigments. Nikau has spent the past decade dedicated to remembering and reinvigorating the practice of aute in Aotearoa.


Her practice is devoted to the life cycle of the paper mulberry plant, from its growing to processing the inner bark into a fine white cloth. Working intimately with plants, Nikau aligns her practices with the Maramataka.

Using earth pigments, Nikau inscribes her Aute pieces with design systems that come from
rectilinear whatu rāranga and tukutuku patterns. Using this textile design framework, Nikau
developed her star maps which document the rising and setting of stars on the horizon and
come from the navigational system of the star compass.

Nikau uses her maps as mnemonics to record the movement of stars in relation to the
Maramataka. Nikau has recently turned her attention to creating manu aute, kites that were
once created from aute. This has been a long time aspiration to materialise this taonga tuku iho.
Nikau is also teaching this knowledge to a new generation of makers and has great hopes and
aspirations for the practice of aute in te ao Māori. Her apprenticeship program Te Uru Aute with
Rongomai Grbic-Hoskins (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngātiwai) was about succession planning for
aute and laying the tuakana teina foundations for the practice. Nikau has a growing number of
tauira and pia.

Nikau has been included in a number of notable exhibitions, including O Quilombismo, House of
World Cultures, Berlin, 2023, Manu Aute: Rere Runga Hau, Season Gallery, Auckland, 2022;
Still Alive, Aichi Triennale, Tokoname, Japan, 2022; Walls to Live Behind, Rooms to Own,
Auckland Art Gallery, 2022; Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai, Hastings City Gallery, (travelling solo
produced by The Dowse) 2019–22. Kathmandu Triennale 2077, 2020 and Koloa: Women, Art,
and Technology at Para Site, Hong Kong. Recent publications include: Te Uru Aute (co-edited
with Rongomai Grbic-Hoskins, 2022).

Nikau was also a contributor to the 2019 publication ‘Crafting Aotearoa: A Cultural History of
Making in New Zealand and the Wider Moana Oceania’, edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa
Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner (an image of her work also features on the cover). Nikau has
studied at the Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Hawai’i, and Toihoukura. She is
currently based in Tūranga/Gisborne. She has been a speaker at numerous conferences and
events, and has worked alongside organisations and institutions in a range of settings.

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