Topic: Arts

Young Māori artist determined to overcome disability

By Rewi Heke
  • Northland

It has been a long road for Herepainga Rawiri as she comes to grips with the fact she no longer has the artistic touch she once possessed.

However the difficulties she has faced recently haven't dettered her drive in pursuing her dreams and passion.

Rawiri was involved in an accident last year during her trade’s class at Northland Regional Training Centre which resulted in her severing the tips of her fingers on her right hand while operating a table saw.  Almost 6 months after the accident she is still finding her daily tasks challenging especially her artwork.

Rawiri says, “Well I can’t draw and paint as good as I use to be able to and I can’t really write anymore and I’m not as good on the guitar anymore.”

Prior to her accident the 18-year-old from Otangarei – Whangarei played a key role in a four part documentary which aired on Māori Television earlier this year.  

Her involvement in the documentary showcases her eagerness in trade construction and her passion for art.  Part of the documentary shows Rawiri panting a large mural in the centre of Otangarei which highlights the dreams and aspirations of the Otangarei community. (Picture below)

She remains confident that she will eventually overcome her disability in good time.

“It’s tragic but I’m trying to live with it and slowly learn how to do these things again but the major part this accident has affected is my building, I get real sketchy when I hear power tools now,” says Rawiri.

Recently a change in heart has seen Rawiri undertake a new career choice.  She now lives with her family in Auckland and is currently studying travel and tourism to hopefully become a flight hostess.

Despite the startling sound of power tools for Rawiri, she hopes to one day continue her career in the building industry and most importantly get behind the brush once again.