Tauranga-based artist adorns beach with mahi toi

By Mare Haimona-Riki

To view extraordinary art, you usually have to journey to an art gallery or exhibition. However, Tauranga Moana-based artist Zane McGregor of Ngāti Raukawa is bringing the gallery to the people.

For the past four years, McGregor has made the Golden Sands of Pāpāmoa his canvas; adorning the beach with beautiful designs in the sand, using a garden rake. His inspiration was simply being able to share his gift back to the land.

“Making that connection, with the whenua, with the people, and acknowledging that whakapapa that we all connected."

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Using a garden rake as his paintbrush, the Tauranga Intermediate teacher doesn't take to the sand every morning. Instead he lets the land dictate whether it's a good morning for mahi toi.

“I don't even know what my designs are going to be. Following karakia, I say a whakatauki, and from there it's taking in those elements of te taiao and being inspired by Tama-nui-te rā.”

Mcgregor says that 95% of the passerbyers in the morning walking along the beach are Pākehā, so his artwork serve as a great conversation starter about mātauranga Māori.

“Introducing words like taniko, mangopare, the koru – all of these aspects found within the art form that I'm expressing, so I'm teaching at the same time.