Maree Mills

E rere ana i te hau tere
Riding the fast wind

In recent times, I have been confronted by speed, rather than slowing down, the years zip by faster and faster, bringing environmental, social and personal challenges alongside exponential change. I remind myself that Māori have survived a predicted demise and overcome what might have been insurmountable change over the last two centuries. We have adapted, reclaimed our languages, our education and research. Our birth rates remain high and we are a ‘growing’ economic force, offering successful culturally driven business models. Our indigenous knowledge is sought after to develop new foods and medicines. It is Māori art and design that represents our nation on the international stage. In many instances we have led the charge regarding sustainability and are to be found in all levels of leadership. Importantly members of Ngā Aho, and other indigenous design communities apply an indigenous epistemology to the use of our land, in the design of spaces and built environments and in the public emergence, adoption and embrace of our tikanga and arts.

But how do we maintain this emancipation in the face of an even faster future?
I am of an age to take stock and be thankful that I too have survived and am able to contribute to the ongoing wellbeing of our people. As an invited keynote, I wanted to humbly offer something of use to you. I draw upon the principles of our ancestors alongside examples from my own journey, to empower you with tools to not only cope with change but to ride it and better still drive it.

E rere ana i te hau tere
Riding the fast wind


Maree Mills joined Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, Waikato Museum as Curator Tangata Whenua in October 2017.  Her role requires strengthening relationships with iwi and working across traditional to contemporary Māori art and design.

From 2013 she worked at Auckland Council in Community and Cultural Strategy, to project lead, and author of the regions first Arts and Culture Strategy- Toi Whītiki.

Prior to this Maree implemented a kaupapa Māori operating policy in the role of Director at Hastings City Art Gallery in Heretaunga, Hawke’s Bay, she has also lectured at the University of Waikato, on video production and experimental video practice.

Her own art practice explores communication of ethereal and cosmological concepts inherent in a Māori world-view.  Maree continues to independently publish on the arts, and maintains academic relationships through guest lecturing, degree development and assessment at various Universities.