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Erica Sinclair              

Photographer

Bachelor of Media Arts (Visual Arts), Photography pathway                   

“I really appreciated our tutors because it was great to be learning from people who were also working in their own fields.”
Photography has taken Erica Sinclair places - to weddings in Fiji and Rarotonga, among others - but it’s capturing her culture at home that she’s most passionate about. She recently produced a kapa haka themed calendar, ‘Ngā taniwha o te ao kapa haka’, enlisting her friend and fellow Media Arts graduate Daniel Moeke to do all of the graphic design work. While Erica hoped the calendar would be well received, the positive response was overwhelming. 

Always creative, Erica knew she would choose an arts career. A teacher recommended Wintec’s Media Arts degree, which also had the bonus of being within driving distance of her hometown of Whakatane. Erica had assumed she would major in painting and sculpture but a ‘magical’ first year photography module saw her heading in that direction instead. 

“I really appreciated our tutors because it was great to be learning from people who were also working in their own fields,” she says. “They are all ‘current’ and that gave us confidence. The best thing was the friends I made, who are now some of my strongest networks. We all help each other out.” 

Taking a camera to her touch game led to photographing the annual NZ Māori Rugby League Tournament in Rotorua, and then to Erica’s favourite job to date - the Matatini Kapa Haka Nationals. “I was stoked,” she says. “That job was definitely where I started to think of myself as a real photographer and things started to fall into place. It was easy to identify that I liked to capture Māori culture and dynamics, whether it be big events or simple intimate whānau shoots. I hope to keep making work that I like and that resonates with others as well.” 

Erica is now completing the Te Tohu Paetahi diploma, a total immersion language and teaching programme taught in Te Reo Māori. 

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