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Sandy Adsett is known for giving new voice to customary Māori art forms. The koru (unfurling fern frond) is the focus of much of his work, and he often makes reference to elements of te taiao, the natural world in which humankind is enmeshed.

In 1961, he joined Gordon Tovey in the Department of Education’s Advisory Service, going on to lecture in Tairāwhiti Polytechnic’s Toihoukura Māori art programme, alongside Sir Derek Lardelli and Steve Gibbs. In 2002, he set up the Toimairangi School of Māori Visual Culture within Te Wananga o Aotearoa, in Heretaunga Hastings.

He is a member of Te Ātinga (Committee of Contemporary Māori Visual Arts) of Toi Māori Aotearoa and is on the board of Te Waka Toi, the Maori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. He received the Order of New Zealand in 2005. In 2020, he was made an Arts Foundation Icon.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki te Wairoa; Ngāti Pāhauwera;
Aotearoa New Zealand;
Date of birth
27 August 1939
Place of birth
Raupunga, Aotearoa,

The Fletcher Trust Collection is one of the largest curated private collections of Aotearoa art. The Trust makes works available online as well as via exhibitions initiated by public art institutions and by the Trust itself.

The Fletcher Trust
Private Bag 92114
Auckland 1142
New Zealand


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