Hana Rakena grew up surrounded by art and craft-making.
After graduating from university, she studied ceramics at Otago Polytechnic and completed a series of clay workshops with some of New Zealand’s leading potters.
Rakena distinctive ceramic practice uses heavily-textured grog clay, coiled and pinched by hand over several days or weeks. T work is then refined by scraping back with a metal scraper and covered with terra sigillata before firing.
Like the geological effects of water and wind on rock, Rakena says she is interested in leaving a history of the forming of her ceramics in the surface and shape of each piece:
I am constantly aiming for clarity of form, generous volumes, and an organic 'unearthed' feel with my ceramics. Over time I recognize qualities I admire and aspire to in my work, the Māori concept of ihi meaning presence, essential force and sacredness sums up my ideal.
In 2016 Rakena and her sister Rachael Rakena exhibited a collaborative work, Everything between you and me, at Pataka gallery in Porirua. The exhibition, combining Hana’s textured ceramics with a light installation by Rachael, travelled to Canada in 2019.