Ngā Mana Whakairo a Toi - Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts

I’ve been a performer since 1986 when I joined Te Waka Huia under the tutelage of Ngapo and Pimia Wehi. They always encouraged us to explore everything to the ‘nth’ degree, and to give back to the body of knowledge.

My brother and I often tutored at Queen Victoria and St Stephens schools, while others in the group tutored at other high schools around Tāmaki.

It’s those people who, although now no longer performing, decided 30 years later to pursue a Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts (BMPA) as part of our ongoing journey – a way of giving back and continuing to make the contribution always encouraged by Ngapo and Pimia.

The BMPA space is a fantastic thing – particularly the open forums and national symposia for the kapa haka community. Even seasoned performers and tutors with 30 years of experience are not beyond that continuum of learning – I would find myself sitting there thinking ‘I just learned something’. You’ve got to keep treading the boards, picking up knowledge, and sharing it.

With nearly 800 BMPA graduates so far, the potential for post-graduate research is vast. I’m not sure that the boundaries are currently being explored or have even been discovered. It’s about capacity building, and the academic space is part of that.

Fred Williams BMPA Graduate 2019

Fred Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts in 2019

Kimihia he huarahi ako

What can you study?