Napier's William Colenso College is desperate to recover two artworks that were shown in a national exhibition in Wellington and have been lost on their way home.

Both works were shown in the New Zealand Qualifications Authority's showcase of student Maori art, Ringa Toi, in Wellington from September 25 to October 4.

Ringa Toi is an annual exhibition that showcases the artwork of secondary school students with a focus on Toi Māori, with hundreds of pieces being sent in from 48 different high schools across the country.

Work displayed showcases a range of Māori art forms including raranga, kākahu (wearable art), tukutuku, tāniko, whakairo, kōwhaiwhai, mahi-tā (paint, print, spray), uku, whakapakoko (sculpture) and mahi-matihiko (digital).


"NZQA and New Zealand Couriers have been searching for them but they should have been back with us a couple of weeks ago and there's been no sign," William Colenso College head of art Laura Jackson said.

One of the works, by Year 12 student Paris Tawaka, is a digital work the school has been able to reprint but the other, by Year 11 student Izaiah Taputoro is an original painting that would have represented a quarter of his Year 11 art portfolio.

Have you seen this painting? The missing artwork by Izaiah Taputoro of William Colenso College. Photo / Supplied
Have you seen this painting? The missing artwork by Izaiah Taputoro of William Colenso College. Photo / Supplied

Fortunately, Izaiah can be given a derived grade for his year's work, which means he won't be penalised by NZQA for the absence of the artwork which covers 25 per cent of his grade years grade.

"He won't receive any lesser grade as a result but Izaiah spent about eight weeks working on this piece and, as you'd expect, it means a lot to him. Having his work accepted for a national exhibition was a huge boost to this young artist's confidence and we remain optimistic that it will yet find its way home," Jackson said.

"For Izaiah art is a very special thing and it would just mean a lot to get his work back."

Ms Jackson hopes to have the art work returned in time to be displayed at the Hawke's Bay Maori art exhibition in November.

"We would dearly love to get it back, especially as Hawke's Bay is putting on a Maori art exhibition with work from some of the eight Bay schools which entered Ringa Toi. This starts at the Hastings Community Arts Centre on November 11," she said.

"It gives our students a chance to show off their work to the local community and their family and friends who weren't able to make it down to the exhibition in Wellington and it would be great to have Izaiah's piece as part of it."


Ms Jackson has also put out an appeal on a national message board for art teachers in case the works have turned up elsewhere.

*If you have any information please contact Napier's William Colenso College phone 06 831 0180