The panel for Dissecting Diversity is made up of an excellent group of thought leaders and change makers – read more about them here:
Born and raised in Manurewa, south Auckland Nigel Borell’s art career started in this suburb working on two community-based meeting house projects under master carver Pakariki Harrison in 1994. From these beginnings Nigel Borell (of Pirirakau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Te Whakatōhea tribal descent) went on to gain a Bachelor of Māori Visual Art (Hons) from Massey University (2000) and a Master of Fine Art (Hons) The University of Auckland (2002).
His current role is Curator Māori Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki where his research in both customary and contemporary Māori art is produced for publication and exhibition making. Recent curatorial projects include: co-curating with Zara Stanhope The Moa Hunters by Areta Wilkinson, for 9th Asia Pacific Triennial, QAGOMA, Brisbane (2018) and The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer’s New Zealand, at the Auckland Art Gallery (2016) and deYoung Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco (2017). Borell was Associate Curator Māori at The Auckland War Memorial Museum (2013-2015) and Kaiwhakahaere Toi o Manukau for Auckland Council –South (2009-2013). He is the current Chair of Te Ātinga –the National Māori Visual Arts committee of Toi Māori Aotearoa and was a member of the 2019 advisory panel for the New Zealand Venice Biennale project 2019 presented by Creative New Zealand.
Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai
Kolokesa has a background in Art History, Social Anthropology and Museums and Heritage Studies, along with a strong foundation of Tongan Indigenous knowledge and practices. This knowledge base informs her holistic understanding and appreciation of Moana Oceania arts and artists, which she expresses through curatorial practice, arts advocacy and activism, and writing projects.
Kolokesa has recently joined the Arts Foundation as Arts Liaison Co–Lead with Barbara Makuati-Afitu.
Along with Kolokesa Uafā Māhina-Tuai, Barbara is the co-founder of cultural organisation Lagi-Maama.
In her work she navigates different spaces to champion communities; thinking critically about how to genuinely and inclusively make Aotearoa New Zealand the diverse nation it claims to be.
With a background in stakeholder management, Barbara is passionate about building community engagement, supporting and creating safer spaces for all our communities especially our arts communities.
In 2019, Barbara joined the Arts Foundation as Arts Liaison Co–Lead, bringing with her the same warmth and energy that defines Lagi–Maama.
Guled is a former refugee who is passionate about advancing and encouraging the social well-being, inclusion and development of New Zealand’s ethnic and former refugee communities. Guled is a writer, speaker, young leader and community advocate. He is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most prominent young voices advocating for a more humane, inclusive and welcoming society. He serves on the boards of a number of community organisations, and is the founder of the African Youth Forum, the co-founder of Third Culture Minds, a non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing positive mental health and wellbeing outcomes for refugee and migrant rangatahi.
He was just six-years-old when his mother, a solo-parent, fled the strife of Somalia’s civil war with her nine children for a better life in New Zealand. Facing racism at school, Guled was discouraged from pursuing a higher education and left at sixteen. This wasn’t it for Guled. He went on to excel at university and now works as a Senior Policy Advisor.
Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen
Born and raised in South Auckland, Seuta’afili Dr Patrick Thomsen is a Samoan boy from Manurewa. His village in Samoa is Vaimoso and he received his doctorate from the University of Washington in Seattle. He also holds an MA in international studies from Seoul National University in South Korea and a BA in politics from The University of Auckland. He was appointed as an inaugural Te Tomokanga Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Auckland earlier this year where he teaches the course The Contemporary Pacific. His research interests include gender, sexuality, racism, intersectionality, identity politics, Pacific research methodologies, queer theory and development studies. He is a regular contributor to E-Tangata, The Coconet TV, written for Radio NZ, The Diplomat and many other publications.