An exhibition by Emara Betsy Whaanga

Date: Oct 30 – Nov 11Space: Mezzanine

We are excited and honored to have Emara Betsy Whaanga exhibiting Wahinetanga at Creative Arts Napier from October 30th at 12pm.

“My kaupapa mahi is giving space to the essence of wahine. Wahinetanga. Honouring the many wahine who I have come to love over the many seasons in my life cycle. Bringing their mana, magic and power to the core of our connection”.

This exhibition will be open to the public, from 12pm on October 30th, here at Creative Arts Napier.

“My physical, emotional and spiritual energies find place within my paintbrush to paint the voices that lay within.” – 2018

Born in Wellington on the 6th of June 1989 to a Māori father of Rongomaiwahine and Ngāti Porou descent and a pākehā mother of Scottish and English descent. Emara Betsy Whaanga takes pride in her sense of identity and belonging, where much of her work depicting her cultural connection. Expressing soulful vibrations that swirl within the depth of her being. A safe controlled outlet within a raw and confronting world for an introvert.

Emara grew up in a very creative environment with love and care for whakapapa and identity, which  encompasses her ability to acknowledge, unpack and express in a creative way.  Painting was often an outlet for her to release, realign and centre herself once again. Her ideas are sourced from the whakapapa of her world where she is able to embody suggestive, symbolic Māori art through spaces of conscious and subconscious experiences.

Her whānau moved to the beautiful Hawkes Bay in 1997 and she still resides there today with her four children, aged 13, 12, 8 and 3. Whilst raising her children, working as a teacher aide and learning coach she also found time to complete her diploma of Māori Visual arts with Toimairangi, a degree in Art and Creativity with The Learning Connextion, a Bachelor of Arts Education Major with Massey University and a Karanga course through E.I.T. She is currently completing her post graduate diploma in Māori Visual arts through Massey University.

Wahinetanga is a series of works that honours the essence of women. Women of indigenous origin. Women of heroin status. Women who carry our indigenous heir. Women who have derived from Hineahuone, a feminine energy of godly and earthly essence, formed from the sacred clay of Papatūānuku at Kurawaka.

Emara Whaanga current mahi was developed over the course of a year through her Post graduate study. But its core origins have been brewing within the kōpū of Papatūānuku mai rānō. Birthed from the soulful energies and experiences that Emara has connected with throughout the seasons of her life’s cycle.

Through wānanga the sharing of breath and space with prominent wāhine, Emara wanted to capture the mana and essence that she sees and feels lies within them. Each wahine stepped into spaces of vulnerability, addressing trauma, facing fears and opening parts of ourselves we too often than not ignore out of fear for so many reasons.

We don’t often understand our own worth.

We are conformed to be a type of way.

To tick boxes.

To fit into a criterion.

We are subjected to emotional, physical, mental and spiritual abuse at many levels within many spaces. This is not who we are, we are an authentic entity, flowing with individual goddess energy, with purpose, intent and mana. Standing in our individual vessels we coexist within a collective of powerful wholesome divine feminine beings.” – Emara Whaanga.

Navigating through her own mamae and acknowledging the pain that was, with the comfort and support of her collective she has been able to step into the space of healing. Here in the Wahinetanga exhibition Emara expresses the pain that lies beyond visibility.

No matter your race, religion, background, upbringing, values or morals we all have mana. We all have a powerful woman essence that is worthy of genuine authentic expression. Acknowledging the silent cries of our ancestress. We will be silent no more, hear our cries, our call. Listen. Listen to the valuable energy, the pain, the triumph, the love, the heartache and successes that vibrates from the artwork.” – Emara Whaanga.

Emara knows the universe is encouraging us to dig deeper into understanding our inner spiritual awakening. To see our inner essence and mana. Her journey has brought her to a time to voice the need to quiet our minds and look within to know where to go forward. To path a way to awaken and adjust to new vibrations and embody the balance of both the divine masculine and feminine. Throughout this exhibition and the different series of works you will be able to feel the subtle inclusion of the divine masculine. To bring balance to our Wahinetanga. To heal from our pasts, to manifest and move into the new versions of ourselves. These energies are the cornerstone of the universe. They keep the universe functioning.




Mana wahine,

Indigenous sisterhood,

Sensual feminine energy,



Magic and power.

Divine feminine.

We are the chosen portal between the physical realm and the spiritual realm. The only force powerful enough to navigate unborn spirits to this planet. How are we not more protective and loving of our wahine vessels? We are worthy, our essence as women is powerful beyond measure. We must rise together and remind each other that we are all worthy, magical women full of power and mana. Our essence is our authentic core being.”

Photography: @putaanga_whakaahua
Design: @arahi.music

In line with current Level 2 restrictions, please wear a mask and use your COVID Tracer app when entering Creative Arts Napier. 2 metre distancing is observed in all of our galleries.


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