03 Jun 2021

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Leadership New Zealand and Creative New Zealand develop Maori and Pasifika arts leadership

Creative New Zealand and Leadership New Zealand are pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the Creative New Zealand Ngā Toi Māori and Pasifika Arts Scholarships to the NZ Leadership and the Mana Moana Programmes.

The 2021 scholarship recipients are Nadine Hura and Tanea Heke (Ngā Toi Māori), Herbee Bartley and Sol Smith (Pasifika Arts) who are journeying with the NZ Leadership Programme and Mike Bridgman and Nina Oberg-Humphries who are joining the Mana Moana Experience programme.

Nina Oberg-Humphries

The scholarships for the nine-month programme are designed to support senior Māori and Pasifika arts practitioners to develop their leadership skills working with leaders across a range of sectors while navigating current issues facing Aotearoa.

“It’s been three years since we’ve partnered with Leadership New Zealand and despite the hurdles of COVID-19, we’re delighted that the programme has continued to flourish with the calibre of applicants and interest,” says Arts Council Chair Caren Rangi. 

“To be able to offer six scholarship positions in this calendar year is our way of saying that the arts and culture sector needs more Māori and Pasifika artists and art practitioners in positions of leadership and influence, and we want to support them on this journey. At Toi Aotearoa we know our art sector future leaders have much to offer, and by being nurtured and nourished with the right pou of support around them, we can build a more connected and resilient Te-Moana-nui-a-Kiva community” she said.

Mike Bridgman

“Creative New Zealand and Leadership New Zealand believe arts leadership plays a crucial role in Aotearoa’s wellbeing. Our strategic partnership, which launched in 2019, supports tangata whenua practitioners creating work in the field of Ngā Toi Māori, and current and future Pasifika arts talent to engage in Leadership New Zealand’s year-long programmes,” says Leadership New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Anya Satyanand.

“Our programmes (The NZ Leadership Programme and The Mana Moana Experience) aim to strengthen internal capabilities and connect participants across sectors, industries and communities. Māori and Pasifika artists are emboldened, inspired and equipped to develop and grow their own leadership, while engaging with key issues facing New Zealand.”

“The arts sector plays a central role in Aotearoa’s collective wellbeing, and we’re excited to be working with Creative New Zealand and our six amazing Creative New Zealand 2021 scholarship recipients to invest in their visionary leadership,” she adds.

Writer and author Nadine Hura (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) says she’s looking forward to gaining a better understanding of leadership needed to genuinely give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“When I think of leaders, the names of Dame Whina Cooper, Merata Mita, Dame Naida Glavish, Mere Mangakāhia, Patricia Grace, Pania Newtown, and so many more come to mind. But after giving it some more thought, I realised there are lots of ways to be a leader, and not all of them involve having a big profile. Some of the most influential people I have known work behind the scenes, often quietly, but always tirelessly and with generosity of spirit,” she says.

“In particular, I think of the kaiako Māori who have encouraged and spurred me on over the years - those who have devoted their whole lives to the revitalisation of our language. It reminds me that the future of Aotearoa needs all kinds of leaders, both those who can hold and captivate the stage, as well as those who can hold and captivate individual hearts and minds.”

Creative New Zealand Manager Māori Strategic Partnerships, Tōmairangi Mareikura, Tanea Heke, Nadine Hura, Creative New Zealand Arts Practice Director - Māori, Kereama Te Ua

Actor and Director of Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, Tanea Heke (Ngā Puhi) says she feels fortunate to be participating on the programme while being able to challenge herself.

“If I’m a tuakana and my responsibility is to provide space for teina to flourish, how well am I doing that mahi?  What resources are required? Who can tautoko along the way?” she says.

“So I have big expectations about the mahi I need to achieve in the year ahead. Nā reira, a big mihi to Toi Aotearoa Creative New Zealand; to the Board, staff me ngā ākonga at Te Kura Toi Whakaari, my colleagues in our sector who work so hard and to Nan Brunning and my whānau for challenging me every day to keep looking up, out and over and to mahia te mahi!”

“I’m so proud to be taking the deep dive in 2021 with The Mana Moana Experience” said Mana Moana scholarship recipient, Interdisciplinary Creative Director Mike Bridgman (Tongan, Pākeha) I feel my worldview opening up at Retreat One: Va Tūpuna,”

“A strong sense of connection is growing with my fellow Pasifika leaders. This knowledge gained on the programme is invaluable and will expand my personal being and artistic practice – paving a way for me to reflect this culture back into the community.”

“Working as an artist across a new Pasifika organisation (Tagata Moana Trust), community education and governance in Christchurch, it is important for me that the spaces I endeavour to create for makers, practitioners and community are rooted in an authentically Polynesian world view” said Nina Oberg-Humphries.

“Being part of The Mana Moana Experience 2021 has already given me a national network of like-minded thinkers gaining insight to how others navigate similar issues and enabled me to dive deeper into my Pasifika heritage as assets in my working life. This has already had a significant impact on my arts practice and leadership as a director, giving me more confidence to make decisions and work with community. I value the experience because it has connected me back to my Mana as a Pasifika person and reminded me that culture propels us forward in all spaces. I feel refreshed, I feel supported, I feel the aroha.” Said Oberg-Humphries.

All participants will be guided alongside leaders from a diverse range of sectors and will have the opportunity to work through creative and design thinking processes, tools for increasing resilience and have a chance to lead coaching and more.  

The scholarships are supported under Creative New Zealand’s Te Hā o ngā Toi Māori Arts Strategy 2019 – 2024 and Pasifika Arts Strategy 2018 – 2023 that focus on building strong arts practitioners and an arts sector that advances ngā toi Māori aspirations, and strengthening Pasifika-led arts groups and organisations with skilled and experienced leaders.