24 Jun 2019

This content is tagged as Ngā toi Māori .


Waana Davis QSM

Taiwhakaea II, Nga Maihi, Te Rangihouhiri II, Te Tawera, Ngati Wharepaia and Ngati Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa.

Champion of te reo Māori and ngā toi Māori
Toi Māori Aotearoa Chairperson
Member of the Conservation Authority
Recipient Queens Service Medal for service to community
Former Palmerston North City Council Councillor

Toi Aotearoa Creative New Zealand wishes to pay tribute to the immense force that was Waana Davis. 

CNZ’s primary connection with Waana was in her role as Foundation Chair of Toi Māori Aotearoa. This was a significant voluntary role and ensured that Waana had a contemporary view of the aspirations and concerns of practitioners.  She also had links to critical art educators like Cliff Whiting, Para Matchett, Marilynn Webb and Katareina Mataira who played a critical role in bringing Māori art to New Zealanders via the school system in the 1960s.

Toi Māori is an important organisation advancing Ngā Toi Māori and Waana was a powerful advocate for Toi Māori, Matauranga Māori, te Reo Māori and mana motuhake independent Māori decision making practices.

“My kaupapa as a Trustee and Chair (of Toi Māori) has never waivered; I stand for mana motuhake in everything we do as Māori people.”[1]

Waana had a strength of character that was matched by her sharp dress sense and mind, a skill set that led her to serve her community on Authorities and Boards nationally and internationally.  This service and leadership was duly recognized in 2002 when she was awarded a Queens Service Medal. Waana herself was also an accomplished weaver and kapa haka performer with Tamatea Ariki Nui.

Encouraging up and coming Māori artists to strive for excellence was also a passion for Waana.  Her final comments as Chair of Toi Māori epitomizes the eloquence that Waana demonstrated in her life’s work. 

You are intelligent, creative and immensely talented people. I look to you for inspiration, new perspectives and nourishment for my soul as Māori. Without you our world would be impoverished…

Draw on the power that comes from being Māori, be bold and show yourself to the world.”[2]

E te whaea, te kuia, te morehu pakeke, kua huri te kei o tō waka. Haere atu rā ki te tini te mano e tatari mai i a koe. Moe mai rā i tō moenga roa, waiho rā tātou ki kōnei tangi ai.

[1] Message from the Chair, Toi Māori 2018 https://www.maoriart.org.nz/2018-message-from-the-chair.html

[2] As above