Waharoa will be profiling our outstanding academic staff who will be delivering our programmes at Te Auaha. This time we talk with Gareth McGhie and who teaches creative technologies and Lecturer of Māori Performing Arts Kereama Te Ua.
After a decade at Weta Workshop, Gareth McGhie brings his wealth of experience to teaching. He's now taught in the Creative Technologies programme at WelTec for seven years, but thinks the best is yet to come with the development of Te Auaha.
I think anytime you're in a creative field it's awesome when you can see lots of different art practices and design practices alongside yours. At Weta, we covered everything from knitting to making vehicles. To be aware of different practices and watch that in action is very powerful for any emerging artist. The importance of that at Te Auaha cannot be overstated.
At Weta, Gareth worked across all departments – everything from moulding and physical effects to model-making, miniatures and costumes – before becoming workshop supervisor in his last few years, running a team of up to 100 artists and technicians.
Now at WelTec and soon to be at Te Auaha Gareth deals with a lot of practical effects including model making and teaching physical production. I also teach the core papers such as critical studies and collaboration, based on what I learned in the film industry.
I was also involved in the hiring and firing at Weta so knew what we were looking for from the industry side of things.
Gareth’s teaching role extends to placing students into industry internships and his ongoing relationships with Weta Workshop, Weta productions and props/costume manufacturing facilities like Rubberband ltd, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Miniscus leather can provide students with invaluable industry experience.
After working on major film projects such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, District 9 and Avatar, he's looking forward to another major project: helping to establish the new creative campus.
Te Auaha has huge potential. It's still 18 months out though and there's a lot of work to do. It’s an exciting and challenging time.
Kereama Te Ua is passionate about passing on the craft of kapa haka and traditional Māori arts. My focus is for students to have a strong foundation in traditional performing arts so when they move across to other art forms, the integrity of our craft stays intact.
Kereama has helped bring kapa haka to the world of dance, working as a professional kaihaka and choreographer. He has been part of acclaimed productions such as Maui: One Man Against the Gods and Arohanui: The Greatest Love, in which he played the lead character.
When we take traditional crafts to theatre and to dance, this is when students can make a career of their craft.
Kereama currently teaches Whitireia’s Bachelor of Applied Arts as well as the Certificate in Haka Theatre. Growing up on the marae, the traditional performing arts have always been part of his life. I grew up on the marae with my aunties and my koros, who taught me kapa haka from a very young age. I'm from a big kapa haka family so in many ways was destined to teach the craft.
Kereama trained at Pounamu Performing Arts in Auckland then Auckland University, before completing his studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Having that traditional base gave me the foundation to then branch out and I delved into the dance world.
At Te Auaha, Kereama is looking forward to collaborating with hair and make-up staff and students, as well as with other professionals such as the WelTec visual arts team. Everybody has such high standards and it's going to push that level of quality and challenge people to step up. I'm excited about that.
The biggest attraction is it's all in one space. It gives directors and producers and casting agents a one-stop-shop to see our students. It's ideal for students to make their own networks and contacts before they get out into the world.
Creative Technologies tutor Gareth McGhie
Lecturer in Māori Performing Arts Kereama Te Ua