Baye Riddell

(b. 1950)

Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau a Ruataupare
Lives in Tokomaru Bay


Baye Riddell has been a full-time practising clay artist since 1974 and in 1987, co-founded Ngā Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clay workers collective. Baye is writing the first history of the Māori clay artists movement, which is due for publication by Te Papa Press in 2023.


Whenua is the fundamental theme in Baye’s work. On returning to his ancestral lands in the 1980s, Riddell established his kiln and studio and excavated clay from the surrounding areas. Loath to hide the properties of his hard-won clay, Baye’s unglazed ceramic art works are studies in Māori sculptural forms and design, and marked with patterns drawn from the visual language of whakairo. The toa (warrior) is another recurring theme and intended to promote the values of courage, resilience and fortitude in the minds of Māori today.


Profile image photo credit: Norm Heke, Tokomaru Bay, 2022