03 Sep 2011

This content is tagged as Ngā toi Māori .


Distinguished champions of Maori arts celebrated

From knighted professors to community heroes, those who have shown excellence, leadership and made an outstanding contribution to Māori arts, have been honoured in Wellington’s Town Hall tonight at the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards.

From knighted professors to community heroes, those who have shown excellence, leadership and made an outstanding contribution to Māori arts, have been honoured in Wellington’s Town Hall tonight.

The annual Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards are the only national Māori arts awards to celebrate all artforms.  Established in 1986, they recognise achievement in areas including writing, composition, oratory, performing, object and visual arts. Two scholarships are also awarded to emerging artists.

“Whether they’re international icons, or treasured heroes of small communities, every one of the recipients has made an important investment in the future of Māori arts”, said Darrin Haimona, Chair of Te Waka Toi, the Māori arts board of Creative New Zealand.
“Our people champion a range of artforms. As we strengthen our local roots and stretch our wings internationally, we must also celebrate the achievements and commitment of those who’ve already done so much for the kaupapa” said Mr Haimona.

The Māori King, Te Arikinui Kingi Tūheitia announced Distinguished Professor, Sir Sidney Moko Mead (Hirini) as the recipient of the prestigious, Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Sir Sidney’s award will be formally presented at his marae later this year.

Widely recognised for his standing in education and iwi politics, Sir Sidney is also a writer of stories, music and poems, and has published books on Māori arts and culture for 50 years.  The number of cultural aspects he has covered and the continuous nature of his writing, make him one of this country’s most prolific writers. The award recognises Sir Sidney’s commitment to passing on artistic knowledge to enrich others, and the overall exemplary contribution he has made towards the retention and development of Māori arts.

Emeritus Professor Sir Tamati Reedy was recognised for his life-long promotion of Te Reo Māori with Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pēwhairangi: ‘Whakarongo, Titiro, Kōrero’. Acknowledged as having an incomparable command of te reo Māori, in accepting his award, the former Secretary of Māori Affairs and Chair of the Māori language sector review panel Te Paepae Motuhake, credited his grandparents with his life-long passion for the language.  

A group of five kaumātua received Ngā Tohu a Tā Kīngi Ihaka. The esteemed men and women were acknowledged for their extensive knowledge of a Māori artform and their willingness to share that expertise to enrich others, particularly their own communities. Experts in tribal knowledge, visual and performing arts were honoured.

Acclaimed contemporary artist Robyn Kahukiwa, was awarded Te Tohu Toi Kē, the award for Making a Difference.  Over 30 years, her work has promoted Māori culture nationally and internationally, and has proved innovative, challenging and important in the broadening perceptions of Māori art.  In galleries of the world, or award winning children’s books at home, Robyn’s instantly recognisable style is seen as an affirmation of the mana of Māori art. Formerly a secondary school art teacher, Robyn Kahukiwa is now one of the most widely represented artists in New Zealand’s public art collections.

Two scholarships were presented to emerging artists. The recipients were Wellington-based graphic designer and carving restorer, Tai Kerekere who is completing a Bachelor of Māori Art through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa; and visual artist and weaver Karangawai Marsh who is in her second year of a Master’s degree in Māori Visual Arts at Massey University in Palmerston North.

The 2011 Te Waka Toi awards recognise:

  • the significant, long-term contribution to the preservation and development of Māori arts and culture made by Sir Sidney Moko Mead (Hirini) of Ngāti Awa, with Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu;
  • the creative innovation and international profiling of contemporary Māori art and issues by Robyn Kahukiwa (Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Kōnohi, Whānau a Ruataupare, Te Whānau a Te Ao), with Te Tohu Toi Kē;
  • the life-long promotion of Te Reo Māori by Sir Tamati Reedy (Ngāti Porou), with Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pēwhairangi: ‘Whakarongo, Titiro, Kōrero’;


  1. the huge commitment of five kaumatua, who through their generosity and talent, enrich the artistic traditions of communities, with Ngā Tohu a Tā Kingi Ihaka;
  2.  Ema Rogers, (Te Whānau a Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāi Tahu) founder of the prestigious Kapa Haka o Te Whānau ā Apanui
  3. Maika Mason, (Ngāi Tahu) pounamu expert
  4. Dr Ngapare Hopa, DPhil (Oxon), MNZM, (Tainui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) the first Māori woman to gain a PhD from Oxford University
  5. Dr Marilynn Webb, ONZM, Hon LL.D (Ngā Puhi) acclaimed print maker and educator
  6. Te Riaki Amoamo, (Te Whakatōhea) tohunga of Te Whakatōhea tikanga, whakapapa, reo, history and tohunga of the Ringatū Church.
  7. Te Waka Toi awarded scholarships, Ngā Karahipi a Te Waka Toi, to two emerging artists, Tai Kerekere (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Ngāi Tai, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngā Puhi) and Karangawai Marsh (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Arawa).