After 20 years and hundreds of students, one of Māoridom's most important artists has retired from his role as an educator at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa at the age of 82.
Sandy Adsett of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Pāhauwera created Toimairangi School of Māori Visual Art at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in 2002. Over the 20 years he has mentored hundreds of students including the director of Te Pātaka Art + Museum Reuben Friend.
While Toimairangi provided a solid base to work from, Adsett said he had particularly enjoyed uplifting the arts kaupapa in Ngāti Kahungunu through Iwi Toi Kahungunu, an organisation he created to promote local artists and their art.
"We've developed our own kaupapa for Kahungunu, that's been our main focus for the last five years" he said.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa acting chief executive Nepia Winiata said Adsett has been a tireless arts educator whose influence will continue to be seen in the generations of artists he's mentored.
"Hundreds of our tauira [students] have had the privilege of learning under an artist of immense mana. Sandy has shared his knowledge freely and has contributed to the development of some of the country's best young artists.
"He leaves a marvellous legacy with Toimairangi, which will continue to support our young artists for many years to come," Winiata said.
Although he loved his teaching career, Adsett is "looking forward" to the next chapter in his career, where he will focus on new artwork.
Toi Koru- an exhibition covering the 50-year career of Adsett is set to launch next week in Porirua.
"Toi Koru and the accompanying Ahi Toi exhibitions are a wonderful testament to an outstanding career," Winiata said.
Some of the hundreds of students Adsett has mentored over the years are taking part in the accompanying Ahi Toi exhibition.
"The space was given to me to fill and I decided to give the opportunity to graduates. It wasn't too difficult to choose which ones, I wanted to include those who had continued with their mahi."
Adsett has seen many successes during his career. In 2005 he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to art. Last year, he received an Arts Foundation Icon award, Whakamana Hiranga, alongside actor Sam Neill and author Joy Cowley.
His works were recently featured in the Toi Tū Toi Ora exhibition and he has taken part in several major international exhibitions.
Toi Koru - Sandy Adsett opens at 10am on Saturday, July 31 at Pātaka Art + Museum, 17 Parumoana St, Porirua. The exhibition runs until November 7 before touring other venues around Aotearoa, finishing in Sandy's Ngāti Kahungunu home.