22 Aug 2022
Bonita Bigham (Ngaruahine, Te Atiawa) and Whetū Fala (Ngā
Rauru, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Maru ki Taranaki, Sāmoa, Rotuma) have been
appointed to the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa (Creative New
Zealand’s governing body) by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Carmel
Read more about the new Arts Council members below or visit Ministry for Culture and Heritage's website for more information.
South Taranaki based Bonita brings over 20 years of experience and knowledge to the Council as both a governor and toi Māori practitioner.
Firmly committed to kaupapa Māori, Bonita is involved with various community and local government organisations.
She is a founding member of Toi o Taranaki Ki Te Tonga, a Māori artists’ collective in Taranaki, a Presiding Member for Oranga Marae (formerly Marae Lotteries Heritage Committee), and an iwi representative on committees at both South Taranaki District and Taranaki Regional Councils,
Holding Master’s degrees in both Fine Arts and Māori Visual Arts Bonita is a passionate arts advocate and scholar who centres her research and output on cultural themes and practices, including raranga, tāniko, and kowhaiwhai.
Bonita replaces outgoing member Dean Whiting. Manatū Taonga thanks Dean for his contributions and service to the Council since his appointment in 2017.
Whetū Fala (Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Maru ki Taranaki/Sāmoa, Rotuma)
Whanganui-based Whetū has over 35 years of rich experience in the arts and cultural sector, particularly in Māori performing arts, theatre, film, and television.
She brings a wealth of governance experience with her current roles including Co-Chair of Ngā Taongā Sound & Vision Film Archives, Board Director for Whakaata Māori, advisor for Internet Aotearoa and trustee with NZ Aotearoa Film Heritage Trust Te Puna Ataata.
Whetū’s executive background includes roles as founder of Fala Media, which specialises in Māori Pasifika content, Executive Director for Ngā Aho Whakaari NZ Māori Screen Guild, Short Film Manager at the New Zealand Film Commission and Station Manager of Awa FM Te Reo Irirangi Māori o Whanganui.
Whetū fills the vacant position on the Council.