05 Nov 2013
Distinguished opera singer Jonathan Lemalu and harpist-musician Natalia Mann are among the winners of this year’s Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards, which celebrate excellence and innovation in Pacific arts.
Established in 1996, the annual awards acknowledge the richness and diversity of high-quality Pacific art in Aotearoa with awards for emerging and established artists and for heritage and contemporary artforms.
“Through the Arts Pasifika Awards we are proud to recognise and support the unique contribution the arts make to New Zealand’s diverse Pacific culture,” says Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Chair of Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Committee.
This year the Pacific Arts Committee has introduced the Special Recognition Award to acknowledge special contributions to Pacific arts.
“This award recognises an individual whose work, influence and commitment have raised the standards, expectations and reputation of Pacific art and artists. We have two very deserving recipients in 2013 – respected author and Pacific curator Sean Mallon and internationally recognised choreographer Parris Goebel.”
The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Wellington on 14 November 2013.
Senior Artist Award – Jonathan Lemalu ($10,000)
New Zealand born Samoan opera singer Jonathan Lemalu has been recognised for his contribution to New Zealand classical music with the Senior Artist Award. Born in Dunedin, Jonathan gained a bachelor of laws at the University of Otago, followed by postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Music in London. His career on the international stage includes regular appearances with many of the world’s great opera houses, orchestras and conductors, and he makes frequent appearances in New Zealand. Jonathan most recently featured in NZ Opera’s Don Giovanni, and he returns next season for two tours with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
Contemporary Artist Award – Victor Rodger ($5,000)
Award-winning playwright Victor Rodger receives the Contemporary Artist Award, which recognises innovation and achievement. A New Zealand/Samoan originally from Christchurch, Victor’s works deal with race, racism and identity. His works have been performed in Aotearoa and internationally. Victor’s first play, Sons, premiered at The Court in 1995, followed by other plays Cunning Stunts, Ranterstantrum, My Name is Gary Cooper (Auckland Theatre Company) and most recently Black Faggot, which won the most awards at the 2013 Auckland Fringe Awards and two awards at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe. Victor has also won Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for ‘Most Outstanding New Writer’ and ‘Most Outstanding New Zealand Play’.
Iosefa Enari Memorial Award – Natalia Mann ($4,000)
International harpist and musician Natalia Mann is the recipient of the Iosefa Enari Memorial Award, which supports the career development of an individual Pacific classical singer, musician or composer. New Zealand/Samoan, Natalia is known for her creative and contemporary style of harp playing. She works internationally as a performer, composer, collaborator and recording artist in many genres. Natalia has a degree in classical music performance from the Victorian College of the Arts (Australia). She began performing professionally as a harpist in her late teens and has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, music ensembles, opera, ballet and theatre. Her album Pasif.ist (with virtuosic percussionist Izzet Kizil) was funded by Creative New Zealand in 2011, and reached #4 on the New Zealand album charts in its second week.
Emerging Artist – Suli Moa ($4,000)
This year’s Emerging Artist Award goes to Suli Moa, a New Zealand/Tongan emerging playwright and a graduate of Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School. His first play Kingdom of Lote (2011) was self-funded and performed at Mangere Arts Centre to positive industry and community support. His second play A Hearts Path (2012) was funded by Creative New Zealand and performed at Mangere Arts Centre during the Matala Tongan Festival 2012.
Special Recognition Award (2 recipients) ($5,000)
Special contribution to the standing, and standard, of Pacific arts in Aotearoa and/or internationally
- Sean Mallon is of Samoan/Irish descent. He is the author and co-author of significant literature on Pacific arts and culture, including Pacific Art Niu Sila, Samoan Art & Artists, Tatau and Art in Oceania. From Porirua, Sean is Senior Curator Pacific Cultures at Te Papa.
- Parris Goebel is a young Samoan choreographer from Auckland who works in New Zealand and abroad. She runs the Palace Dance Studio in Auckland, developing emerging dancers and choreographers. She is also a dancer and lead choreographer of the all-female dance group ReQuest. Parris is internationally recognised in hip hop dance for her Polyswagg style, incorporating Polynesian dance influences. Her choreography has won gold medals three years in a row at the World Hip Hop International Dance Championships in America. Her first production, Murder on the Dance Floor, sold out this year at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau.
Heritage Arts Award – Atafu Tokelau Community Group ($5,000)
This year’s Heritage Arts Award is presented to the Atafu Tokelau Community Group. The Wellington-based group was formed in the 1960s and has since grown to 700 members of all ages, meeting regularly for cultural and social activities at the Mataula Hall in Porirua. The group take part in the bi-annual Tokelau International Festival in Aotearoa. Creative New Zealand funded the group’s heritage arts ‘Vaka Project’ in 2011, which brought master artists and the community together to build and construct a traditional Tokelau vaka. A heritage arts video documenting the project, also funded by Creative New Zealand, is being created to share this unique cultural knowledge online with the wider community.
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