11 Nov 2023

This content is tagged as Creative NZ .


Te Waka Toi Recipients

The 2023 Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi Awards has honoured Māori artists and cultural contributors. 

Creative New Zealand in collaboration with Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori, and Te Matatini hosted the event in the Waikato region, te waka o Tainui, te nōhanga o te Kiingitanga, and celebrated the achievements of ngā toi Māori. The calibre of artists ranged from many artforms and acknowledged a new surge of rangatahi cutting through the sector. 

Supreme award: 

Rangimoana Taylor, a respected actor and storyteller from Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau ā Apanui, received Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Supreme Award. Taylor's career spans over 35 years, including international stages and renowned Māori theatre groups. He has also contributed to Māori education and youth through his writing and advocacy.

Lifetime achievement awards: 

Te Raina Ferris and Horiana Tootell received the Ngā Tohu Ā Tā Kingi Ihaka | Sir Kingi Ihaka Awards for Lifetime Achievement. Ferris is celebrated for her expertise in haka and karanga, while Tootell is a dedicated guardian of pounamu, sharing its cultural significance with the world.

Innovation awards:

Amber Curreen, Estella Hineratia Tawha-Davis, and Graham Tipene were honoured with the Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi – ‘Making a difference award’ for their Māori arts and culture contributions. Curreen's theatre work emphasises te reo Māori, while Tawha-Davis's Kapa Haumanu programme empowers rangatahi. Tipene's artistry enriches the cityscape with Māori kaupapa.

Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa award: 

Sarah Holten, a disabled Māori artist, received the Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa award for her remarkable mixed-media artistry, transcending physical limitations.

Emerging artists recognised: 

Brianne Te Paa, Bridy Lundon, and Tuakoi Ohia received the Ngā Manu Pīrere awards, acknowledging their promise in various art forms.

Partner awards:

  • Te Papa Tongarewa Rongomaraeroa Award honoured the late Putiputi Mackey, recognising her contributions to Māori performing arts.
  • Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi Award celebrated street artist and designer Mr G for his artistry.
  • Te Tohu Whakamānawa o Te Matatini Awardee Ngamoni Huata embodies the essence of perpetuating Māori traditions and arts.

   Te Waka Toi Logos

Recipient Bios: 


Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu | Supreme Award

Rangimoana Taylor (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā- Apanui) – Actor, Theatre Director, Reiki Master and Storyteller

Rangimoana is an actor, theatre director, and storyteller with over 35 years in the industry.  He has performed nationally and internationally and was the lead in the feature film Hook Line and Sinker (2011).  He was an intrinsic part of three Māori theatre companies, Te Ohu Whakaari and Taki Rua in Wellington and Kilimogo Productions in Dunedin.  He has taught at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and has been a guest lecturer at Takitimu Performing Arts School in Hastings. He has been invited to lecture and help form productions at the University of the Incarnate Word in Texas. 

Along with theatre work, Taylor has been an actor, director and adviser on television and film work. His non-fiction writing focuses on Māori education. He has also written children’s stories for broadcast in the 1970s and has written for Schools Broadcasting on Radio.

Te Raina Ferris

Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka |Sir Kingi Ihaka Award recognising lifetime contribution

Te Raina Ferris (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu, Italy) – Karanga specialist and Kaiako

Based in Pōrangahau, Raina is known for her expertise and leadership in haka and karanga.  Raina has performed and led Tamatea Arikinui since the 1970s, competing at over 30 Te Matatini.  In 2000, Raina started formally teaching karanga to a new generation of women.  Twenty-three years later, Raina and her daughters Helena, Miriama and Piri continue to teach Karanga at their whānau-based retreat centre, Kurawaka

Horiana Tootell

Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka | Sir Kingi Ihaka Award recognising lifetime contribution

Horiana Tootell (Poutini Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Waewae) – Kaitiaki pounamu, Karanga and Māori performing arts

Horiana Tootell (Aunty Jo) Horiana lives in the Arahura Valley and is, like many of her cousins and whānau, a committed kaitiaki of pounamu on Tai Poutini. She has spent her life collecting pounamu, advocating for its protection, sharing its value through kōrero and hosting manuhiri so they may enjoy its power.  Aunty Jo has accompanied pounamu mauri internationally and represented our people’s stories at the World Expo in Japan. She is committed to exploring traditional Māori knowledge through whakapapa, karanga and kapa haka and is keen to see the next generation engage, learn and continue her legacy.

She is one of the few elders holding pounamu kōrero and waiata. Her whānau, the Mason’s, is well known on the West Coast and across the iwi for being kaitiaki pounamu.  

Amber Curreen

Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi | Making a Difference Award

Amber Curreen (Ngāpuhi) – Kaupapa Māori focused producer

Amber is a kaupapa Māori-focused producer who has been delivering professional theatre since 2009 with Te Rēhia Theatre Company and Te Pou Theatre Trust. 

Amber’s mahi is driven by a solid tikanga-based arts practice and focuses on high-quality, innovative story-telling that brings te reo Māori to the stage and supports the reclamation and revitalisation of Mātauranga Māori through the arts. The breadth and number of high-quality works Amber has produced affirm the mana of ngā toi Māori, and collectively, they demonstrate how Amber receives high acclaim.

Estella Hineratia Tawha-Davis

Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi | Making a Difference Award

Estella Hineratia Tawha-Davis (Ngaati Maahanga/Waikato-Tainui/ Ngaati Raukawa/Ngaati Maiotaki/Ngaati Toarangatira) – Director/Kaitukuhaumanu/Counsellor/Kapa Haka Kaiako/Tutor

Estella is dedicated to her people's revitalisation, reclamation and long-term healing, specifically focusing on rangatahi. Her kaupapa Kapa Haumanu is innovative and challenging, broadening perceptions of ngā toi Māori as it is the only kaupapa of its kind, and has been working alongside kura from Whakatuu since 2019 as a direct response from the voices of rangatahi and whaanau from Nayland College at the time. Since its inception in 2019 and as a pilot programme in 2020, while studying towards her Counselling degree at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Kapa Haumanu has and currently works alongside Nayland College, Tahunanui School, Nelson Christian Academy School, Auckland Point School, Broadgreen Intermediate School, Stoke Primary School and Tapawera Area School.

Graham Tipene

Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi  | Making a Difference Award

Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) – Architectural Visual and Tā Moko artist

Graham is a Tā Moko artist who has been a consultant and critical artist on civic and Council-led projects throughout Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. His public work brings Māori kaupapa into the city's built environment, with significant projects including the Waterview tunnel, Victoria Park, Auckland Library, and Tirohanga Whānui Bridge in Albany.

Brianne Te Paa

Ngā Manu Pīrere Award | Recognising emerging Māori artists showing promise and potential in their chosen artform

Brianne Te Paa (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Te Whānau-a-Apanui) – Māori writer

Brianne is an Assistant Principal at Kaipara College. She has a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Te Pinakitanga ki Te Reo Kairangi. Brianne is passionate about learning and working with young people and has always enjoyed writing poetry and short stories.

The Māori edition of her book was awarded the Storylines Te Kahurangi Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira Award and was named in the Storylines Notable Book List in 2022. The English edition was named NZ Booklovers Best Children’s Picture Book in 2023 and made the Storylines Notable Book List in 2022. Both editions are finalists in the 2023 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, which will be announced in August.

Bridy Lundon

Ngā Manu Pīrere Award | Recognising emerging Māori artists showing promise and potential in their chosen artform

Bridy Lundon (Ngāpuhi, Waikato-Tainui) – Visual Artist

Bridy received the Ruanuku Award, awarded yearly to the top all-round student at Toihoukura. The Ruanuku is a final-year undergraduate art student who performs at a high level across various requirements. As part of the award, two pieces of Bridy’s work have been selected by the Tairāwhiti Museum and purchased, through the support of Professor Jack Richards, for the Tairāwhiti Museum's permanent Māori arts collection.

Bridy focuses on the revival, reclamation, and rebuilding of traditional and contemporary art forms in the modern world. Her goal is decolonising her generations mind and re-indigenising the thought patterns of her tupuna, reminding rangatahi Māori that this taonga is our language, therefore, we are the ones in control. She is consistent with her artwork and dedicates much of her mahi to the community. Bridy aims to create a space where tauira Māori feel comfortable enough to create artwork, express kōrero, and explore different art practices through a Māori lens. She inspires other young emerging artists pursuing the same journey to use this as a tool of grounding and reconnecting to your whenua and kainga.

Tuakoi Ohia

Ngā Manu Pīrere Award | Recognising emerging Māori artists showing promise and potential in their chosen artform

Tuakoi Ohia (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Hine, Te Ati Awa, Tainui, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pākehā) – Performing Arts, Theatre

Tuakoi is a young woman who is thriving in ngā Toi Whare Tāpere. She brings her rich upbringing in Te Ao Māori, her reo and her whakapapa and uniquely combines them into her artform with grace and deep insight. She is helping the art world to understand how mātauranga Māori can flourish to help create Mātauranga Aotearoa. Tuakoi is a writer for the play Kōpū, co-written with Tuki Tukiwaho, and demonstrates how she brings her mana as a wahine Māori and her mātauranga Māori to the stage.  Tuakoi is a member of Te Pou Theatre, with screen credits to her name. She is also an accomplished vocalist and active community member, participating in her marae and extensive whānau across the motu. She has appeared in international festivals and was a lead actor in a Trans-Tasman indigenous production, Black Ties, a sell-out show at the 2021 International Festival of the Arts.

Sarah Holten

Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa Award | Recognises the contribution of a Māori artist with the lived experience of disability to the standing, and standard of Māori arts in New Zealand and/or globally

Sarah Holten (Ngāti Maniapoto, Tūwharetoa) (deceased) – Mixed-media artist

Sarah’s’ work is grounded in expressive mark-making techniques. Having no autonomous use of her hands, Sarah employs various techniques, including a head pointer and eye gaze technology, to create her work. Through a combination of colours and marks, Sarah’s work delights in its complexity, expression, and mood. 

Mr G – Graeme Hoete

Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi

Mr G - Graham Hoete (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui me Ngāti Awa) – Multi-disciplinary artist/designer

Mr G is a multi-disciplinary artist whose large-scale works can be seen across the world – in Scotland, America, Australia, and Aotearoa, including Wharekauri | Chatham Islands.  

Raised in Kawerau and now based in Tauranga, Mr G is a visual storyteller, working mainly in larger-than-life portraiture. 

His murals of hope are in small towns across Aotearoa, a way of re-indigenising public spaces and supporting hauora. 

This award particularly recognises Mr G’s contribution to the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori, made visible in his five-storey tribute portrait of Hana Te Hemara, leader of Ngā Tamatoa. Hana Te Hemara is remembered as the force behind the 1972 petition to Parliament calling for Te Reo Māori to be taught in schools. Mr G’s massive work in Ngāmotu | New Plymouth reflects the strength of her passion for the reo.    

This award is supported by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori

Putiputi Mackey

Te Tohu o Te Papa Tongarewa Rongomaraeroa

Putiputi Mackey QSM (Ngāti Porou ki Poneke) (deceased) for services to Māori performing arts and Māori.  

The whānau and friends of Putiputi share their recollections of her contribution to ngā toi Māori in particular performing arts, and her overall contribution to te ao Māori. In 2008 she was honoured with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for services to Māori performing arts and Māori. 

This Award is Supported by Te Papa

Ngamoni Huata

Te Tohu Whakamanawa o Te Matatini

Ngamoni Huata (Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, Ngāti Whare, Ngāi Tuhoe, Te Whakatōhea me Ngāti Raukawa) – Māori Performing Arts, Weaver

Aotearoa’s most published expert on Poi. Ngamoni Huata talks about her life in the village at Te Pakira Marae, making poi with her whanau, her no-nonsense mottos and what she'll be looking for as a judge at Te Matatini.  There are a few intricate Taniko Kakahu (cloaks) draped over a small wooden bench in her lounge, she is repairing one for her mokopuna's graduation. She has made a few cloaks, some worn by Māori and Pākeha dignitaries over the years.

This award is supported by Te Matatini