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Te Waka Toi celebrates service to the arts

Media release

Saturday 20 August 2005

Te Waka Toi celebrates service to the arts

A commitment and willingness to pass on their skills and knowledge is a common factor among this year's recipients of awards from Te Waka Toi, the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand.

Nga Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi - Te Waka Toi Awards were held in Wellington this evening with eight awards and three scholarships given out.

Te Waka Toi chair Elizabeth Ellis said recipients were recognised not only for their excellent arts practices but their cultural contribution to their communities.

"Many have been driven to take an active role in passing on their knowledge by the threat that our artforms might die out. The kaumatua that we are presenting awards to tonight can remember a time when the skills and knowledge they learnt from their elders were in danger of being lost.

"So tonight we pay tribute to them not only as artists, but as inspirational teachers and mentors.

"Our Ta Kingi Ihaka and Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi awards are a recognition of a lifelong contribution to the development and retention of Maori arts and culture. They are kaumatua who within their communities and their artform have worked tirelessly over many years and helped develop what are today thriving and exciting Maori arts."

The five Ta Kingi Ihaka recipients are:

* Te Puoho Katene (Ngati Toa) Porirua, Music

* Katerina Waiari (Ngati Awa) Te Teko, Weaving

* John Bevan Ford (Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti) Palmerston North, Visual Arts

* Whai Hitchiner (Ngati Porou) Gisborne, Weaving

* Te Hau o Te Rangi Tutua (Ngati Awa), Whakatane, Carving

Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi for contribution to te reo Maori has been awarded to two recipients

* Anituatua Black (Tuhoe) Poetry/songwriting

And a posthumous award to:

* Tame Te Maro (Ngati Porou)

Each year Te Waka Toi also acknowledges an artist who has helped to advance their artform and who has received significant acclaim. This year, Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Award for New Work is awarded to singer songwriter Moana Maniapoto (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Ngati Pikiao, Tuhourangi) for international award winning song Moko and for her sustained contribution to Maori music.

"With this composition, Moana won this prestigious international prize ahead of 11,000 other entries and by doing so exposed some leading lights in the world music industry to Maori music," Ms Ellis said.

"Moko not only includes te reo Maori but encompasses Maori spiritual values and beliefs. By winning this award Moana has, once again, shown the capacity of Maori music to touch an international audience."

Te Waka Toi scholarships look towards the future and support three students of Maori artforms who show promise and commitment to both their artform and to Maori development through the arts.

This year's recipients of Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Scholarships

* Glen Skipper (Te Atiawa) Palmerston North, visual arts * Israel Tangaroa Birch, (Nga Puhi, Ngati Kahungunu) Palmerston North, visual arts * Ramonda Te Maiharoa-Taleni (Waitaha, Samoan) Wellington, opera

"Previous recipients of this award have gone on to great success as professional artists. These three rangatahi all have what it takes to realise their artistic potential and make an impact. This is an investment in the future," Ms Ellis said.


Biographical Notes

Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka / Ta Kingi Ihaka Awards

Te Puoho Katene, QSM

Ngati Toa, Te Atiawa, Porirua


Te Puoho Katene was born on 21 October 1927 and has spent much of his working and community life promoting and supporting the arts through direct involvement, advisory roles and extensive writing about Maori arts and culture.

He studied fine art at the Canterbury School of Art where he developed a love for choral music and started learning the piano, an instrument that he still holds a great love for. He left before he graduated and enrolled at Victoria University to study music, where he learnt composition under master composer Douglas Lilburn.

But a call from his iwi meant he decided not to finish his degree then, although he later returned to University and graduated with a BA in Music and Maori in 1991.

In the meantime, he had pursued his love of choral music through composing, arranging and conducting choirs, mainly church related. He was a founding director of the New Zealand Maori Chorale and on the wall of his Porirua home he proudly displays on his walls gold and platinum albums won by the New Zealand Maori Chorale for sales of "Songs of New Zealand" in 1978.

He is also known for his composing work and such is the regard in which he is held that the National Male Choir of New Zealand commissioned four compositions from him especially for a tour of Wales in 2000.

He was a member of the International Society of Music Education (ISME) as well as serving on various local and national committees including 12 years as a trustee for SOUNZ, The Centre for New Zealand Music. For about 15 years he was the kaumatua at Toi Whakaari - The New Zealand Drama School.

Katerina Waiari

Ngati Awa, Te Teko


Katerina Waiari was born on the 30th of April 1929 to Niao Ngaheu and Piarimu Kereua.

Katerina was not interested in weaving in her early years but one day in 1954, she heard that her cousin, Neko Bell, was giving away kete, so she trudged the 2 kilometres to her cousin's house to ask for one. Her cousin told her to sit down and proceeded to teach her how to make her own kete. That was the beginning of a lifelong relationship with harakeke.

By 1960, she graduated on to making whariki. Her tutor at this time was the late great Emily Schuster, who was taught by Wairata Ngaheu, aunty of Katerina. Katerina invited the local schools to come to her Marae, Kokohinau, to participate in making runners for their school halls. Her passion was and still is to share her knowledge with whoever is willing to receive it.

Although she follows the traditional designs for both kete and whariki, most of the designing is done in her head and then transferred straight on to the article. She has a keen eye for looking at a piece of work and being able to duplicate it without a pattern. She uses modern dyes when weaving as they are less time consuming and cost effective. A whariki whakairo takes her approximately two months to make while a plain one takes about two days. Weaving whariki is very strenuous on the body, but it teaches the weavers how to awhi, tautoko and manaaki one and other. In 1980 Katerina started making korowai, her ultimate passion. She says weaving korowai is easier on the body than whariki weaving and is very therapeutic.

In this same period Katerina started learning Nga waiata tawhito o Mataatua. She had the privilege of being taught by an uncle, Wetini Moko, a respected kaumatua of Te Pahipoto at the time. When Wetini passed away in 1978, Katerina felt it was her duty to pass on the gift of waiata that he had given to her. She started conducting Marae based wananga for those interested in learning. To date she has taught waiata to members of the 8 hapu in the Rangitaiki, 3 other Ngati Awa hapu, members of Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau and Ngati Rangitihi in Matata.

Apart from courses at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in waiata tawhito and Marae Tikanga., all the other classes, courses and wananga Katerina has run have been voluntary. She also did 6 years of voluntary work for IHC, and is always ready to help any Marae in her rohe should she be asked. She was also made an Honorary Community Officer in the early 80's, and was part of the official Mataatua contingent that took the 'Te Maori exhibition to St Louis.

Katerina was a founding member/Kaiako of Kokohinau Kohanga Reo in 1982, a founding and existing member of Putauaki Maori Women's Welfare League and is an active member on many committees, too numerous to mention. At 76 she has a busier schedule than many 20 year olds, and it is a standing joke with her family that they have to make an appointment to come and visit her, or watch Te Karere as she is often seen at different functions around the country.

John Bevan Ford

Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti, Palmerston North

Visual arts

John Bevan Ford was born in Christchurch in 1930 but moved with his family to Wellington as a teenager. It was a move that brought him closer to his mother's people Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti.

His background is not only as an artist but as an art educator. Initially he trained as a primary school teacher but received specialist training in order to be part of the art advisory service. He was one of a group of Maori artists that emerged as art educators in the late 1950s and established the pathway for Maori art to be taught in schools.

He retained his interest in the education sector throughout his working life - retiring in 1991 from the Maori studies department at Massey University.

He is known as a traditional carver as well as a major figure in contemporary Maori art. His work is included in most public collections in New Zealand and has been part of a number of international collections including the British Museum where he was an artist in residence in October 1998.

His international experiences have included selection to participate in 2001 Changchun International Sculpture Symposium in China in 2001. A 5 metre stone sculpture was created in red granite for the city of Changchun.

Major Maori projects and commissions have included the Carved Meeting House, "Te Aroha o Aohanga" in Wairarapa and "Te Marae o Hine" - a series of major sculptures commissioned by the Palmerston North City Council for Rangitane Maori Committee

Whai Hitchiner

Ngati Porou, Gisborne


Whai Hitchiner was born in Ruatoria on 19 March 1923. Her mother died when she was nine and it was her stepmother Horiana Maru who taught her how to weave when she was about 12.

"We made kumara kits because we were still planting kumara. But I didn't learn the kits straight away. She made me do the preparation first and she did all the weaving until I was 17. She kept saying 'you're not ready', but they went away one weekend and I got cracking and made my own kit. She was quite surprised."

Weaving took a back seat while she was bringing up her family but when her children from her second marriage reached high school age in the late 1960s, her interest was rekindled. Since then, she hasn't looked back and when she returned to Gisborne following the death of her husband in 1973, she found herself in the middle of a weaving boom.

For about ten years she taught formerly at what is now the Tairawhiti Polytechnic but it is her involvement in the Nukutere Weaving group for which she is renowned for throughout the region.

The group started more than 30 years ago as a way of fundraising for the Tuparoa Marae which had been damaged by the Wahine Storm several years earlier. It was like a bring and buy with the main attraction being the flax kits. When the marae fundraising was over, the weaving group did not stop and still meets once a week in Whai's back yard. She is unable to weave now but still takes an active role in the group and estimates that thousands of interested weavers have been involved in the group over the years.

Many schools and marae around the district have benefited from her generosity in both teaching and making embellishments for the likes of school halls and wharenui.

That community spirit has been recognised with accolades from a number of organisations including the Maori Women's Welfare League and the national weavers group Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa which in 2001 recognised her lifetime, dedication and service within the arts of Raranga Whatu for exemplary support of Rangatahi (youth).

Te Hau O Te Rangi Tutua (Ching)

Ngati Awa, Whakatane


Te Hau o te Rangi Tutua was born in 1933 and is a recognised elder, carver and expert on traditions and customs of the Mataatua people whose tribal boundaries cover much of what is the Bay of Plenty. His tribal affiliations extend along the whole of that coastal region and right into the central plateau of the North Island. By genealogical lines he traces his ancestry to many of the ancestral voyaging canoes of the old people and excels at recitation of those ancestral linkages on marae gatherings throughout the country.

His expertise in the traditional stories and customs of the Maori are also expressed in his love of carved forms in wood, stone and bone. His role in the last 20 years has been as a senior expert in the art of carving. Today few such elders are alive to guide and encourage the arts from within the context of the culture, as only Te Hau and his few surviving contemporaries can. In the early 70's he enjoyed a fleeting time within what was loosely referred to as contemporary arts and his fine work at the Whakatane Town Hall is the best of those on public show. He was a member of the Maori Artists and Writers Association and this introduced him to many of the major leaders of the contemporary Maori arts movement. However he was eventually drawn back to the work of traditional form where as a secondary school teacher he found eager acceptance of the old forms.

His prominence in education and in the arts has led to work nationally and internationally. Travels to China, and other parts of Asia, Europe, Pacific Islands, Canada and North America continue in his work as tohunga for Toi Maori.

Within Mataatua, he has is a key participant in the Research and Archive of the Runanga of Ngati Awa; Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi; national carvers committee of Tohunga Whakairo o Aotearoa; and national collective of cultural experts He Awhi Tikanga Maori. He has completed the refurbishment of a Mataatua carved house returned from Otago Museum.

Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi

Anituatua Black



Anituatua Black was born in Ruatoki on 1931 and her life's work has been dedicated to Maori language revitalisation including teaching, Maori song composition, poetry and moteatea and translations for many publications including education publications.

Her skills in te reo Maori are put to great use in ways like judging for kapa haka from school competitions to a national level.

In recent years, her work has become known through her daughter Whirimako Black, the singer. Anituatua has long been a consultant to Whirimako on her albums. But for Tangihaku, the album that was released last year through Mai Music, she combined with Whirimako and another daughter Rangitunoa, to co-compose the songs.

This week Anituatua and Whirimako were announced as being among the three finalists for the 2005 APRA Maioha Award for best waiata for 'Tini Whetu' from Tangihaku.

Some of the other songs on the album come from Anituatua current work in progress - Te Kuia Turehu o te Po me ana mokopuna. This is a unique and ongoing collection of stories which places on record a legacy for all mokopuna creative narratives in the dialect of Ngati Koura. Through the work mokopuna are offered an insight into the author's life through traditional storytelling formats such as prayer, poetry, chants, narratives, rituals of encounter with intelligent and witty dialogue and ditties.

But regardless of all her achievements in promoting and supporting te reo Maori, Anituatua regards her main life's work as supporting her husband Stuart Tai Black, who passed away earlier this year, and their 10 children and 25 grandchildren. In particular, over the years she has been involved with the 28th Maori Battalion. This included travelling to Cassino, Italy, with Stuart in 2004 to mark the Maori Battalions Contribution to the Freedom of the Italians. This tour was recorded by Maui Productions and broadcast on Maori Television.

Tame Te Maro

Ngati Porou

Information courtesy of Mana Magazine

Tame Te Maro, who passed away in January 2005, was an East Coast leader, a Kotahitanga stalwart, a force in Maori politics, and a veteran campaigner for Maori rights.

At Waitangi. At Ratana. At Turangawaewae. So, where the Kingitanga was concerned, he'd go to the poukai. He'd turn up at the regatta. He'd never miss the Coronation hui.

Tame spoke Maori. Which is a bit like saying: Shakespeare wrote English. In other words, he was fairly handy at it.

As Waldo Houia recalls, "his speeches didn't go on that long. But with every speech, people just centred. Soon as they knew he was there, they came to listen.

"At the Anglican Church Synod, for example, he was normally the last person to comment, and people were waiting for that. They were anticipating it.

"He seldom spoke English, in fact, and if you couldn't keep up with him, well, tough. Mind you, he often have his tongue planted in his cheek when he was describing his reo-only policy.

Koro Dewes, for example, recalls how he'd sometimes tell a hui that he'd "leave the English to these other young fullas" - with a wave in the direction of "young" fullas such as Koro.

He'd used whakatauaki, onomatopoeia, Maori malapropisms - and a range of other figures of speech that he'd invent for the occasion. You could depend, for example, on him making tart comparisons between his scanty formal education - (he used to imply that he'd had no secondary schooling) - and those who, like Koro and Api Mahuika, had gone to Te Aute, or Tipene, and perhaps on to university.

"If anyone go too smart," says Koro, "he would retort: 'Ahh. But I never had the opportunity to attend Hukarere College.'" Hukarere is, of course, the Anglican College for girls.

Then again, depending on the direction the debate was going, he might twist the allusion. As in: ''I'll leave the English to these young fullas­ - these fullas who attended secondary school and university. I only attended Hukarere College."

Tame was affiliated to a number of marae in Ngati Porou. Pokai, at Tikapa, by the mouth of the Waiapu River. Rakaihoia, Porourangi, Mangahanea, Rauru-nui-a-Toi - as well as many others. When, for example, Waho Tibble, Bob Kaa and Waldo Houia formed what became known as Te Kaporeihana, their Ngati Porou cultural revival flying squad, they looked to him as Te Kapene - their captain. Tame also helped set up Radio Ngati Porou, and he chaired, or was a member of, numerous trusts - and he had a great rapport with young people, believing that young leadership had to be nurtured.

Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi / Te Waka Toi New Work Award

Moana Maniapoto

Ngäti Tuwharetoa, Ngäti Pikiao, Tuhourangi, Auckland


Moana Maniapoto has received a lot of plaudits since the early 1990s when she started making a name for herself in the music industry. But last year, she received one of her biggest thrills to date beating 11,000 other entries for the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) Grand Jury Prize.

The USA-based competition attracts entries from more than 60 countries - songwriters attracted not only by the prestige of winning, but the chance to have their work considered by major industry players.

"When MOKO reached the finals, I was thrilled but never expected to win the category it was placed in," Moana says. "So when competition organiser rang me from Nashville - I was totally gob smacked. The judging panel included B.B King, CEOs of Universal, Atlantic, Mushroom and a host of other luminaries."

Judges described Moko as: "... a compelling fusion of smooth world music and an urban sound with earthy, international beats. "Moko" is rich in lyrical content and reflects the Maori spirit and culture. The song's social message makes a clear distinction between the traditional and sacred custom of Maori tattooing and the Western art form."

Moana is often acknowledged as an artist who has consistently pushed the boundaries of Maori music. She paid her way through law school by singing covers in the highly competitive Auckland club circuit. In 1990, Moana & the Moahunters released the feminist anthem Black Pearl which shot to No. 2 on the National charts, earning Moana her first gold. That single was followed by albums Tahi, Rua, Toru (which reached No.17 on the European World Music Charts) and the DVD Live & Proud.

In both her recordings and live performances, Moana fuses taonga puoro, haka, chants and poi beats then mixes it up with soul, reggae and hip-hop to produce her own blend of traditional and contemporary styles without compromising either (N.Z Herald, 2003).

Since its formation in 2002, Moana & the Tribe have performed over 100 concerts across Europe singing alongside artists such as Patrice, UB40,Youssou N'dour and Seeed. They represented N.Z at the Cultural Olympiad in Greece in 2003, the first N.Z band to sing at the prestigious Herodes Atticus theatre, under the Acropolis.

In 2003, Moana was awarded Te Arawhakarei - lifetime recipient of toi iho(tm) the trademark of quality and authenticity for Maori arts and artists. Last year she was further honoured when she was admitted as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM).

Offstage, Moana is one half of an award-winning documentary team with her film making mentor and partner Toby. With her friend (and backing vocalist Amiria Reriti) Moana founded the Maori Music Industry Coalition and helped institute the Maioha Award at the APRA Songwriting Awards. She led the development of the NZQA New Maori Music unit standards and is a former board member of Te Waka Toi. Moana is in high demand as a motivational speaker and has mentored a number of musicians throughout her career. She is currently negotiating forays into the U.K, Scotland, the U.S.A and has been invited to be the first N.Z band to perform in the former Soviet Union.

Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi / Te Waka Toi Scholarships

Glen Skipper

Te Atiawa., Palmerston North

Visual Arts

Emerging artist Glen Skipper is one of only a handful of Maori artists working with the medium of bronze. He is passionate about the way the metal can be cast to create different forms.

While many Maori artists who utilise the medium are often carvers who have their work cast by others, Glen casts the work himself and thereby controls the whole process. He uses his knowledge to inform his practice as the multiple techniques involved during casting allow him to expand and develop forms and ideas.

His ability to work in bronze was helped by the fact he had a job as a foundry man and artist assistant with renowned bronze sculptor Paul Dibble. "I'm really appreciative of having had the opportunity to work along side Paul. He has been very generous with his knowledge and has continued to support my artistic development."

Glen has a formal art education - a Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts from Massey University and is currently completing his Masters in Maori Visual Arts. He has also had many years experience in trade related jobs, like carpentry and joinery, which have equipped him with the skills required for his sculpture practice. But it is his Taranaki upbringing that he sees as critical to the development of the view he brings to his art.

"While growing up, my siblings and I were taught by our father and whanau to gather food from the land, river and sea in and around our papakainga. This has had a huge influence on my life and the way I look at the world. Since leaving my home rohe, the opportunity of everyday interaction with my whenua, awa and moana is limited. My art allows me to renew and explore that connection from afar. This strengthens my personal identity within the wider world - Te Ao Hurihuri, Te Ao Whanui.

"It is said in order to have a secure Maori identity a person needs a good command of Maori language. At present I don't have a solid grounding in Te Reo Maori. Art allows me to express concepts and narrative when my korero a waha is inadequate."

"Part of my motivation to study Maori art is to help me feel a stronger connection to Te Ao Maori and hopefully lead other people to also experience a connection to Te Ao Maori."

In the meantime Glen is gathering an impressive range of work and experiences. His work has been included in more than six exhibitions including a solo exhibition at Kina Art Gallery in New Plymouth.

After his participation in "He Rere Kee" - a Toi Maori Aotearoa exhibition of emerging Maori artists held last year at Wellington's Tinakori Gallery, he was invited by the gallery to come back. He has joined forces with Ngatai Taepa in an exhibition "Apiti" from 11 August - 3 September.

Israel Tangaroa Birch

Nga Puhi, Ngati Kahungunu, Palmerston North

Visual Arts

Israel Birch connects his early interest in art to when his father was laid off work from the Whakatu freezing works.

"He returned to carving. This was great for my dad as it was a way of healing him and our family. Since then, art has always been part of my life. I have since taken small steps and have now found myself doing a Masters in Maori art."

Those steps include:

Being part of a collective that helped redesign the centre of the Hastings CBD which now includes numerous art works

Working at Te Ao Marama, a Hasting's art school for at risk youth

A degree in visual arts and te reo Maori papers from the Eastern Institute of Technology

In collaboration with friends, entering wearable arts competitions. Successes have included:

* A first place in the menswear section of Style Pacifika 2000 and a finals spot in the Nelson Wearable Arts competition. * Working with renowned furniture designer David Trubridge * A month long residency at a museum in the Netherlands * Exhibiting in the Kiwa exhibition at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver alongside leading contemporary artists like Fred Graham and Bob Jhanke.

Israel's work has been critically acclaimed in the visual arts world, but it is a master of another artform he credits with a major turning point in his arts practice.

"It started when I was a student at EIT in my final year. I went up and had an interview with Hirini Melbourne about Taonga Puoro and I became interested in the sounds of Maori instruments and looking at translating sounds. He talked about the formula that anything that moves vibrates therefore that anything that vibrates sounds. So what I am really looking at is movement within painting or within sculpture to bring about in a visual form those kind of ideas. He told me that in Maori culture stones and wood have a resonant quality, a vibration. I just applied that to my work with what I'm doing in terms of movement within Maori culture like kowhaiwhai patterns and the materials in which I am working with."

How exactly he makes his paintings look like they move is a bit of a trade secret but he will reveal it has a lot to do with the materials he uses, primarily stainless steel and that his main influences include Ralph Hotere and Bob Jhanke.

Life doesn't slow down for Israel. He's busy preparing for his masters exhibition next year, which he hopes to take home to Hawke's Bay, he will be part of the Manawa Pacific Heartbeat show which follows on from Kiwa in Vancouver next year and he and his partner are expecting their first child in September.

Ramonda Te Maiharoa-Taleni

Waitaha, Samoan, Wellington


Ramonda Te Maiharoa-Taleni feels likes she was born singing.

Music was always a passion and her formal training began with piano lessons when she was a seven-year-old school girl in Invercargill. At 14, she realised that music was a potential career and her passion was directed to becoming a concert pianist. But a move to Christchurch and singing lessons when she was 19, initially in jazz, sparked a change in professional ambitions.

"Piano gave me a taste for classical music and introduced me to so many of the great composers. But singing takes a lot more courage. You can hide behind an instrument but when you are singing, it's just you. When I was introduced to the opera repertoire I felt classical singing had the most challenges and therefore the most rewards."

It's a career choice that complements one of her other great passions - winemaking. She spent three years studying viticulture and oenolgy in Blenheim and at Lincoln University.

"You could say my two passions in life are music and nature."

Te Waka Toi scholarship will help Ramonda towards studying languages in Europe.

"I am now at the point in my life when I am ready to meet more of the challenges of being an opera singer," she says. "Learning Italian and German would help me prepare me for learning whole operatic roles in these languages.

"I believe that truly convincing operatic performances in a foreign language are possible only if one has learned the language in its homeland and taught by native speakers. A language is a living entity and only on its natural environment can you learn the nuances of meaning and pronunciation."

But Ramonda also has a passion for singing in te reo Maori and not just the old favourites like Pokarekare Ana.

One of the highlights of her singing in recent years has been working with composer Gillian Whitehead for arias developed especially for Waitangi Day celebrations at her turangawaewae at Waitaki. For Ramonda, the celebrations have had special significance as they have depicted the journey made by her great great great Grandfather the Waitaha tohunga Te Maiharoa and his journey of return to the ancestral lands in central Otago.

She's now also working to build up a repertoire of songs in the Samoan language - her whakapapa from her father, who hails from the village of Iva on Savaii a place she hopes to visit one day.

Ramonda has sung in New Zealand and internationally at a number of events and was a finalist in last year's Lockwood Aria competition.


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