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Waitakere Announces 2008 Arts Laureates

Friday, April 18 2008

Waitakere Announces 2008 Arts Laureates

Four new Waitakere Arts Laureates were announced today - soprano Patricia Wright, artist Fatu Feu’u, painter Peter Siddell and Mau dance group director Lemi Ponifasio.

The 2008 laureates join 12 who had laureate status conferred in 2006.

Waitakere Arts Laureates have a connection with the city and their work reflects the vision, values and cultural diversity of Waitakere. The programme was first mooted by Mayor Bob Harvey who was keen to give honour and thanks to artists who had contributed to the city’s diversity and fabric.

“I am absolutely delighted and honoured to announce our newest Waitakere Arts Laureates who, like this city, display a unique verve and panache,” says Harvey.

“These four outstanding people will now join an incredible talent bank of people who are internationally recognised.”

The four new laureates were chosen by the original 12 inductees after a number of nominations were considered. “They are treasured arts practitioners who will be asked to advise and guide the ‘city fathers’ in matters relating to the arts and culture of Waitakere,” Mayor Harvey says.

“This College of Laureates is made up of individuals who have demonstrated a ‘life in art’ and a commitment to their particular discipline. They have a deep commitment to Waitakere through their life and work and have documented peer recognition. To have their contribution acknowledged like this and in this way is the fulfilment of a long-held dream of mine.”

The announcements were made at a special cocktail function with cultural commentator Hamish Keith as the keynote speaker.

A special tribute was made to original inductee, musician Mahinarangi Tocker who died on Tuesday.

“Mahinarangi was a flower and a very talented treasure and she will be sorely missed by this city,” says Harvey. “Her passing is a tragedy but she goes with much aroha.”

The inaugural Waitakere Laureates inductees were: Painter Don Binney, filmmaker Niki Caro, potter Len Castle, sculptor John Edgar, artist Graeme Gash, painter Lois McIvor, photographer Geoff Moon, glass artist Ann Robinson, writer Dick Scott, weaver Matafetu Smith, writer C.K. Stead and the late musician Mahinarangi Tocker.


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