Dr Nooroa Tapuni

Lecturer - School of Art & Design
Doctor of Philosophy

Dr Nooroa Tapuni

As a practising artist Dr Nooroa Tapuni came to AUT to “upskill” and “play with technology.”

“I chose AUT as a student simply because of the access to technology. I wanted to create digitally enhanced spaces in my art works, so I thought this was the place to be.”

Nooroa completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Media and continued onto her Master of Art & Design, looking at “The Return of the Polynesian Phantom” (2009), and completed a Doctor of Philosophy in 2016, where she explored digitally-enhanced spaces and virtual realities.

“Completing my studies is a continuation of my own personal art practice. I like problem solving and asking a lot of questions. I wanted to explore space, both physically and digitally, and experiment with new ideas.”

The 'other'

For her doctoral thesis, Nooroa developed virtual worlds and gaming environments.

“I wanted to explore a space without any commercial aesthetic and look at it with more artistic sensibility. It was about building a space, rather than a game, as such.”

Her practice-led project draws from her roots as a Mangaian Cook Islander as a way to analyse the intersection of digital and physical environments in art practice.

“I take a position drawn from the Mangaian understanding that the material body has an immaterial other. Ultimately, my artworks create an environment where the observer, researcher and artwork become conduits within a continuum where 'other' is the same.”

Enabling potential

Nooroa is a lecturer in spatial design since the beginning of 2017, as part of the Early Academic Career Programme and says she is now in a position of responsibility.

“My role is to bring out and enable people’s creative potential. I draw from my own learning experience as someone who sees the world differently, on the margins of the 'norm'.

“My difference was often seen as incorrect, but it’s this wrongness and difference that I use as creative potential. That’s the challenge of teaching, to transform presumptions.”

“I know, and I want our Pacific students to know, that you can achieve academically if you are of Pacific heritage, a migrant and from a low socio-economic class.”