Wairehu Grant – Musician and Artist
Waikato artist, musician, and PhD student Wairehu Grant is immersed in the world of art, music, and academia. “I was born here and my whānau all live mostly around the Waikato, my mum is Ngāti Maniapoto.”
Growing up, Wairehu Grant assumed there was nowhere for art to take him. Upon moving to Kirikiriroa for university, he started going to as many art exhibitions as he could, immersing himself in the local art scene. He’s come to enjoy how much of a challenge the Hamilton creative scene is with pushing the boundaries in arts and creating the ‘weirder’ things.
Being Māori is an unshakeable part of who he is. Growing up, his connection to Te Ao Māori was strained. “I grew up with this very confused cultural identity. I was pigeonholed into thinking a lot of the things I was interested in, like punk and strange art, weren’t Māori enough. When I got older, I realised only pakeha told me that the things I was doing weren't Māori enough. It took me years to realise how stupid that was.”
In recent years, Wairehu has found a niche that works for him, making music that speaks to the whole of who he is. His advice is to “look for things that speak to your goals and go to them. There’s space in there to also see some things that are outside your comfort zone and develop your artistic taste by experiencing as much as you can.”
His immediate plan is to finish his PhD, which is on the crossovers in principle of Te Ao Māori and punk.
“Look for things that speak to your goals and go to them.”
“I realised I'd never been told any of that by other Māori people, only pakeha told me that the things I was doing weren't Māori enough. It took me years to realise how stupid that was.”
“Develop your artistic taste by experiencing as much as you can.”
Written by Kae Evans. Kae is a year 3 Bachelor of Communication student at Wintec-Te Pūkenga, majoring in Creative Media. Kae’s study is focused on creative expression through photography and storytelling.