A graduate from the Elam School of Fine Arts, Jean established the Fabric Printing course at Auckland University of Technology, 1987. Her expertise in printed textiles was recognised at the 1996 Style Pasifika fashion show, where she won the Supreme Award. Her prints and costume designs can be found in a number of prestigious collections, including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Australian National Gallery and Museum Victoria. Jean’s practice is varied and dynamic. She uses a variety of printmaking processes,
In the 1970s Jean was a member of the alternative theatre group Red Mole, making costumes and posters for their cabaret shows at Carmen’s Balcony in Wellington. In the 1980s she lived in Sydney and joined the Sydney University Tin Sheds artists’ collective. In 2014 Jean and Rosie Maimiti (Jean's daughter) won a Gold Medal in the environmental category of the annual NZ Pride in Print Awards. Jean currently works as an artist and printmaker while also tutoring stenciling and screenprinting at the Auckland Women’s prison.
A defining work in Jean’s career was the commission of the iconic Pacific Panels, 1995-1999. She led a team of young Pacific designers and printers in creating panels for the permanent installations celebrating the opening of the new Galleria in Wellington’s Parliament Buildings. The cultural symbols of different Pacific Islands are printed on huge lengths of suspended canvas using stencil, wood blocks, rubbings and screenprint. One panel features a nuclear-free logo, echoing anti-nuclear sentiments found in a number of Jean’s other works. During her research for this commission, Jean delved into Auckland Museum’s tapa collection from the 1700s. Here, she found evidence that her Pitcairn Island ancestors preserved their own traditions of tapa making and weaving. In 2006, together with fellow Pitcairn descendants Meralda Warren, Sue Pearson and Pauline Reynolds, Jean formed the artists’ collective the ‘Ahu Sistas. This group has worked to preserve the cultural practises of their Tahitian foremothers who travelled on the Bounty. This has led to Meralda Warren’s revival of tapa-making on Pitcairn Island and Pauline Reynolds’ cataloguing of old Pitcairn tapa in museums around the world. Jean and her daughter Rosie Maimiti grow Paper Mulberry (‘Ahu) trees in their garden from which they have made small pieces of tapa.
Jean has exhibited widely, both as a solo practitioner and in collaboration with other artists. Her exhibitions include Tautai | Navigate, Studio One Toi Tū, 2016; Printmaking: Beyond the Frame, Tauranga Art Gallery, 2015; Beyond the Frame, Gus Fisher Gallery, 2014; We Will Work With You! Wellington Media Collective, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, 2012; Drawings, Northart, Auckland, 2012; Pocket Edition, Northart, 2011; Kia Ora Koutou, Artstation, Auckland, 2011; Braveheart Youth Trust Art Exhibition, ASB Showgrounds, Auckland, 2011 and Pitcairn tapa ahu no te mau Vahine no Bounty, Arue Town Hall, Tahiti, 2008.