Te Waka Toi Awards
Tohunga, artists and community leaders have been honoured for their contributions to preserving and helping to secure the future of high-quality ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) at the 2015 Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards.
The annual awards, held in Rotorua on Saturday 28 November, celebrate the lives and successes of ngā toi Māori practitioners and advocates, and serve as a springboard for emerging artists.
Weaving veteran Matekino Lawless, acclaimed artist Lisa Reihana and Māori language expert and advocate Rahera Shortland are among this year’s award recipients.
Established in 1986, the awards are the only national Māori arts awards that celebrate all artforms, recognising leadership, outstanding contribution, excellence and potential in ngā toi Māori.
Renowned tohunga raranga Matekino Lawless, QSM (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Whawhakia) has received the supreme award for exemplary contribution to ngā toi Māori, Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Weaving for 60 years, she is a role model whose benchmark is quality. Her skills and expertise continue to be recognised nationally and internationally. She was awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) in 1999 and a Creative New Zealand Kingi Ihaka Te Waka Toi Award in 2008 to honour her contribution to the art of weaving.
Making a difference to Māori arts
Te Tohu Toi Kē has been awarded to multi-disciplinary artist Lisa Reihana, MDes, BFA (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngai Tu) for making a positive difference to ngā toi Māori. Lisa has contributed in powerful ways to multimedia, photography, sculpture and screen culture in Aotearoa. Most recently, Lisa was selected to represent Aotearoa at the prestigious 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, where she will present her acclaimed work In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. She will also take a version of the work to the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam next year.
Strengthening the Māori language
Rahera Wiremu Shortland (Ngāpuhi) has been awarded Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi for her contribution to strengthening and promoting the Māori language. In the past 40 years she has been committed to the revitalisation of Te Reo as an integral part of the everyday lives of Māori people. A long supporter and advocate of Te Ataarangi, she was one of the first adult Māori language Teacher Trainees and started the first Māori Language immersion programme at secondary level in the country.
Lifetimes of service to Māori arts
Kaumātua and kuia who have devoted their lives to strengthening Māori culture through their support of Māori arts were honoured with Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka.
- Te Whetu Takitahi Te Ariki Derek Morehu, CNZM (Te Arawa) – Rotorua’s Te Ariki Derek Morehu is an elder of Te Arawa and Mataatua and has spearheaded the retention and revitalisation of the customs and traditions of his iwi. He has been heavily involved in the kohanga reo movement.
- Karanga Wineera Metekingi (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Toarangatira, Ngāti Tahu and Ngāti Whakaue) – Porirua’s Karanga Metekingi has worked and supported her marae, whānau, hapu and iwi all her life and is a known figure within the Takapuwahia village. She is a life member of the Ngāti Toa Māori Women’s Welfare League and helped established Te Roopu Awhina Ki Porirua in 1980 that supports whānau in need.
- Pareaute Nathan (Tainui, Te Rarawa) – Tohunga raranga Pareaute Nathan has spent over 40 years of her life as an educator introducing Māori practises in the classroom at a time there was fear they may be lost. With others, she began hosting monthly weaving workshops at Roma Marae in 2003. She is heavily involved in Te Whare Whiri Toi gallery based on the marae, which features and exhibits local artists making mahi toi from local resources.
- Huhana Morgan (Ngai Tahu) – Bluff’s Huhana Morgan is a tohunga raranga, marae arts and karanga, and a valued leader in her community. She first started to weave taniko at the age of eight, taught by Hei Tiki Blair, and now is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. She is the Chair of Te Rūnaka o Awarua, which has a strong focus on energy efficiency for their community.
- Maata Wharehoka (Taranaki) – An expert in marae arts, raranga and karanga, Parihaka’s Maata Wharehoka is heavily involved in her community and passing on knowledge to future generations. She has been the caretaker of the marae for nearly 30 years and is a driving force behind Parihaka’s focus to be a self-sufficient community.
Emerging Māori artists – Ngā Manu Pīrere
- Whitireia New Zealand performing arts graduate Mapihi Maureen Te Rerehau Kelland (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu) is passionate about dance, music, culture and singing. She has performed in a number of contemporary Māori works and also travelled the world performing with Whitireia. This year she has been working with renowned dance company Black Grace, and is currently on tour with the company for their 20th anniversary show Siva.
- Waka hourua Te Matau a Maui’s youngest captain Hana-lee Kereru-Wainohu (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine) has voyaged over 40,000 nautical miles around the Pacific. She was mentored from a young age by waka legend Hoturoa Kerr and brings with her vast leadership qualities invaluable to a growing field of study where expertise is highly prized. She is passionate about developing, educating, promoting and practicing the art of waka hourua and voyaging in the Ngāti Kahungunu region, Aotearoa and the Pacific.
Source: Creative New Zealand