15 Dec 2020
The endangered artforms of Tārai Waka, Taonga Pūoro and Ngā Toi Mātauranga Māori (Māori arts knowledge systems) will receive a funding boost in an effort to protect against the impacts and the on-going threat of COVID-19 on mātauranga toi following the Government’s announcement of the ‘Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative’ Creative New Zealand announced today.
Creative New Zealand has been allocated $2.828 million from the $20 million dollar fund designed to safeguard Mātauranga Māori and will work in partnership with tohunga, arts practitioners, whānau, hapū, iwi to deliver strategic initiatives across the motu over the next two years.
Spearheaded by a contestable fund ‘Toi Ake - Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku’, $940,000 will be distributed for iwi, hapū, marae, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to protect, cultivate and retain mātauranga Māori related to heritage ngā toi Māori and foster their distinctive ngā toi Māori initiatives. Further partnerships have also been signed with Tārai Waka and Taonga Pūoro collectives and regional programmes Toi Ngāpuhi and Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival.
Dean Whiting, Chair of Kōmiti Māori of the Arts Council of New Zealand, said “The retention of our mātauranga toi is vital for our cultural identity. These taonga were at severe risk pre-Covid-19 and this much needed funding support will assist their protection and maintenance for future generations”.
Practitioners will lead programmes designed to strengthen the foundation of knowledge holders in Taonga Pūoro and Tārai Waka that will be delivered alongside public activities to raise visibility and to facilitate greater access to and participation in some of these at-risk artforms.
Responding to the funding support, Horomona Horo of Haumanu Taonga Pūoro collective said “Ko te hua o te pūtea tautoko kia ohooho te iwi ki te whaanuitanga o te mātauranga kei roto i ēnei taonga tuku iho. Kia kitea, kia rongo tika i te reo wairua, te reo tūpuna, me ngā purakau e whakakakahu nei i te mātauranga Māori o ēnei taonga.”
[“This funding will establish a strong network of practitioners around the country to engage and be culturally aware of and with the practice, the tikanga and traditional values to engage and enable people to play, perform, learn, connect with and collaborate while still honouring the cultural identity, dignity and wealth of knowledge.”]
Tārai Waka tohunga, Heemi Eruera said, “We hope that by the end of the initiative the emerging practitioners of the art form will have confidence to lead the practice into the future and that we will have generated more interest in the art in the communities we live and work in.”
“Being a wide skillset we hope that the mātauranga from tree to sea will be firmly fixed within those who participate”.
Toi Ngāpuhi works across Te Taitokerau in the Far North to protect and revitalise the distinctive Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu cultural identity. Funding from the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative will “Enable the retention, practice and revitalisation of traditional Māori arts mātauranga, practices to ultimately assist marae and hapū based development projects said Manager, Gail Richards.
Toi Ngāpuhi Chairman and pūkenga whakairo (recognised carving knowledge holder), Bernard Makoare said, “a series of facilitated initiatives will be delivered to build upon the substance of the mana motuhake of Te Taitokerau. The intimate cultural narratives that are expressed in the carved and woven whakairoiro arts carry generations of information and refined knowledge which describe ancient origins and express the gravitas of aspirations for an improved and prosperous future.”
Deputy Chair of Toi Ngāpuhi Moe Milne said, “Our kaupapa is expecting excellence and authenticity in our cultural/art revival as a whakaaturanga o nga mea Maori o te Taitokerau (exemplar of Te Taitokerau arts practices) into the future.”
Another initiative receiving funding support is the Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival, Director Tama Waipara said, “Our kaupapa is very simple, we are of the place and its people, we are arts led and a platform for connection. This funding will enable this Kaupapa to flourish with ngā toi Māori at the very centre of what we do. By linking intergenerational practices and knowledge exchange, we can participate in the active nurture of artists and artforms. Artforms and practices that resonate and reflect the depth of our whakapapa across time are essential to our societal basis.”
Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright said, “Creative New Zealand is acutely aware of the importance of retaining mātauranga toi for the wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Mātauranga Māori is a taonga of great significance and we along with our colleagues across the arts, culture and heritage sector are committed to working with practitioners to protect them.”
Paula Carr, Senior Manager, Māori Strategy and Partnerships continued “Our work under the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku programme, progresses three of our key goals in Creative New Zealand’s Te Hā o ngā Toi Māori Arts Strategy – creating more opportunities for Māori artists to extend their practice; for the public to increase their access to and participation in ngā toi Māori and Mātauranga toi and strengthening the Māori arts sector through partnerships and collaboration across the wider arts, culture and heritage sector and with government”.
The ‘Toi Ake Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku’ fund will open in late February 2021. Further information will be available on the Creative New Zealand website in late January 2021.