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Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi – Te Waka Toi Awards


Date: Strictly embargoed until Saturday 30 August 2008 9pm

Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi – Te Waka Toi Awards

A willingness to share their skills and knowledge to retain and develop Māori arts, is a common feature of this year’s recipients of awards from Te Waka Toi, the Māori arts board of Creative New Zealand.

Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi – Te Waka Toi Awards are being held in Wellington this evening (Saturday 30 August) with seven awards and two scholarships presented.

Te Waka Toi Chair, Dr Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, said the awards are an opportunity to recognise people making a difference within their communities.

“The awards are an opportunity for Te Waka Toi, the Māori arts board of Creative New Zealand to honour the ongoing commitment and contributiton these kaumatua and kuia have made to the retention and development of Māori arts and culture. They are leaders who within their communities and their artform have worked tirelessly over many years and helped develop what are today thriving and exciting Māori arts. Through their dedication and hard work we are assured of a prosperous, creative future for our mokopuna.”

The award recipients are nominated and selected by the Te Waka Toi Board.

The five Tā Kingi Ihaka award recipients in regonition of a lifetime contribution to the development and retention of Māori arts and culture are:

Matakino Lawless (Te Arawa)
Rapiata Darcy Ria (Rongowhakaata)
Katerina Daniels (Te Arawa)
Rangiteremauri Tari (Tūhoe)
Kereni Bartlett (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi for contribution to te reo Māori is awarded to:

Merimeri Penfold (Ngāti Kuri)

Te Tohu Toi Kē recognises an individual who is making a significant positive difference to the development and retention of Māori arts and culture through their chosen art form. This award was presented to:

George Henare ( Ngāti Porou) for his outstanding contribution to Māori theatre.

Ngā Karahipi a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Scholarships awarded to two tertiary level students of Māori artforms who show promise and commitment to both their artform and to Māori development through the arts. The scholarships are for $4000 per recipient and are a strategic investment in the future of Māori arts. The scholarships are awarded by Te Waka Toi after an external call for application process.

The 2008 recipients of Ngā Karahipi a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Scholarships are:

Waiana Jones (Te Arawa, Te Aupouri)
Aimee-Rose Stephenson (Ngāti Mārau)

Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi – Te Waka Toi’s premiere award acknowledges the work of individuals who are exemplary in their chosen field of artistic endeavour. Past recipients have included Sir Howard Morrison, Diggeress Te Kanawa, Cliff Whiting and the late Don Selwyn. Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi will be presented to Iritana Tawhiwhirangi (Ngāti Porou) later in the year.


Ngā Tohu a Tā Kingi Ihaka /Sir Kingi Ihaka Awards

Matekino Lawless (Ngāti Maniapoto) is an acclaimed master weaver. She is renowned for her generosity in sharing her knowledge. Born in 1928 the third eldest of 15 children, she was raised at Paraawera, in the Waikato and is of Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Whawhakia affiliation. Matekino has resided in Rotoiti, Ngati Pikiao for over sixty years. It was in Rotoiti where she met her late husband, John Lawless of Te Koopua Marae, Ngati Maniapoto. Together they have six children, twelve grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren.

Using traditional techniques and processes to create finely crafted weaving and whatu (plaiting), beautiful examples of Matekino’s whaariki (woven mats), kete (woven baskets) and kakahu (cloaks) are held in museums, private collections and marae throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, and internationally. She is known throughout TeArawa and particularly Ngāti Pikiao for weaving whaariki. Matekino was also one of the artists involved in the exhibition Te Aho Mutunga Kore:The Eternal Thread which toured Aotearoa and the West Coast of America.

In 1999 she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for Public Services to the art of weaving and extensive community work. She is also a life member of the Maori Womens Welfare League, life member of the Rotorua Playcentre movement and Kahui Whiritoi member of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, the national weavers organisation. Matekino Lawless is a licensed user of toi iho™ - a registered trade mark used to promote and sell authentic, quality Māori arts.

Matekino will celebrate the Te Waka Toi Awards with some of her children and mokopuna, along with a special friend Pirihira Hunia from Te Teko, who will be sitting right beside her on the evening, friends from Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa, weavers from Rotorua and throughout the motu.

Rapiata Darcy Ria (Rongowhakaata) was born in Gisborne in 1921, the youngest of ten children born to Keriana Te Wiwini and Ria Te Ota. He was educated at Gisborne High School before starting at the Department of Native Affairs in Gisborne before moving to Head Office in Wellington. When WWII broke out Darcy served with the Māori Battalion C Company in Italy. On returning to New Zealand he resumed working at Native Affairs and then the Māori Land Court. Having grown up in a Pakeha neighbourhood as a child, Darcy did not speak Māori until he learnt as an adult, going on to become a Licensed Māori Interpreter of the 1st Grade.

The opportunity arose for Darcy to take up the role of Kahutia Te Hau, the District Māori Welfare Officer in Gisborne. In 1946 Darcy married his wife Bebe, together they have nine children, 22 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. As part of his role as District Māori Welfare Officer Darcy was involved in implementing Government initiatives such as the Māori Trade Trading Scheme and the Māori Family Relocation Scheme.

Darcy has served on the Rongowhakaata Tribal Committee as well as other Māori Incorporations and Trusts and was instrumental in the formation of Te Runanga O Turanganui A Kiwa. His community involvement with local schools, kohanga movement and church reflect his commitment to the people of Rongowhakaata. He is also kaumatua for the Waihirere Māori Club.

In the 1980s Darcy was invited by the New Zealand Government to represent Rongowhakaata at the Te Māori exhibition in San Francisco and was involved with the resiting of the Rongowhakaata wharenui, Te Hau Ki Tūranga in the new Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa. In 1996 Darcy was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to iwi and the community.

Katerina Daniels (Te Arawa)

Katerina Daniels was born in Rotorua in 1929. She attended St Josephs Māori Girls’ College before enrolling at Teachers’ Traing College. On graduating she took up her first posting at Whakarewarewa Primary School, the same school she had attended as a child. In 1952 she married Montero Daniels and together they have five children, many grand children and great grand children. They celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary this week.

Katerina’s teaching career has been characterised by her generousity to share her knowledge of te reo and taha Māori as well as recognising the individual strengths of others. Katerina has contributed her cultural wisdom to the many institutions including Christchurch, Tai Poutini and Waiariki Polytechs. She has been an active member in the formal union of ASTE and for the last 20 years has been the kuia pf ASTE.

Katerina retired from “formal” teaching 14 years ago but has continued to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for learning with all those who know her.

Rangiteremauri Tari (Tūhoe) or Rangi Puke as he is commonly known, is a senior member of Tūhoe. He took his place on Tūhoe paepae in 1963 after the death of his father, Puke Tari who was an electrifying orator. His distinguished contribution to the Ringatū Church has been a long and sustained one and he is held in the highest regard by the Church. He remains one of the few of a diminishing pool of tohunga, with a remarkable ability to recite long passages of karakia and psalms without the aid of books. He has been married to Heramuka of Te Aitanga a Hauiti for many years and together they have four children.

Rangi Puke has made a significant contribution to the performing arts of Tūhoe. He has an extraordinary repertoire of waiata tawhito which is unmatched in Tūhoe, and his presence on Tūhoe paepae is an inspiration to budding waiata learners. He remains one of the authorities in this field giving lectures and seminars in institutions like the University of Waikato and iwi institutions of learning. He was a founding member of the Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe festival and continues to support it. He retired from active performance in 1976 but remains one of the art’s most ardent supporters, giving of his unique gift of language and metaphor to compose for Te Karu, the Ruatoki kapa haka group. These compositions have found acclaim at different competitive venues around the country.

He is a valued member of iwi organisations with networks into the different iwi of Mātaatua. His long service to the Tūhoe Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board, from which he retired earlier this year, was meritorious. A comprehensive knowledge of Te Urewera was invaluable to the Board of Te Urewera National Park and his compassion, forged by mātauranga Māori and tempered by his ecclesiastical background, are qualities which made him a cherished member of the Special Educational Services and the Whakatāne Hospital Kaumātua Advisory Group. He is acknowledged by Te Waka Toi for his unfailing service to the performing and traditional arts and to his iwi and the wider community.

Kereni Bartlett (Ngāti Kahungunu) was born in Hastings in 1929, to Te Akonga Mohi and Peti I Te Rangi Pirihi Kaihote. She was the second youngest of nine children, growing up on her whanau marae, Mihiroa within the hapu of Ngati Mihiroa on the Heretaunga Plains in Hawke’s Bay. Kereni was brought up by her grandmother Puke Puke Tangiora, hence her name Kereni, “Nanny’s Girl”. Her grandmother was a prominent figure in Hawkes Bay at the time and had a great influence on Kereni’s life, nurturing, encouraging and moulding her love for te reo, tikanga Māori and kapa haka.

Kapahaka has always been the first and foremost love of Kereni’s life. She excelled at this while attending, Paki Paki Primary School, St Joseph’s Māori Girl’s College and Hukarere. She married George ‘Hori’ Tupaea Bartlett in 1948 in a small registry wedding and again fifty years later in her ‘dream’ wedding in 1998. Together they have eleven children, 32 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

George Bartlett went to Teachers Training College, after 30 years at Whakatu freezing Works. He like a number of other native te reo speakers in his era, answered the call for the recruitment of te reo speakers to be upskilled and return to their respective iwi and whangai te reo me ona tikanga to a new generation. Together Kereni and George set about teaching wananga on the marae in their respective roles. George teaching tikanga whaikorero, te reo rangatira and kapahaka and Kereni teaching karanga, te reo and kapahaka. They were both the driving force behind the establishment of Te Kupenga A Te Huki Te Kohanga Reo on Mihiroa Marae in 1985. Together they worked to uplift the mana of Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Ao Māori.

Kereni was often called upon to help with entertaining and welcoming local and overseas dignitaries. Well-known for her beautiful karanga, great sense of style, poise in kapahaka and pukana, Kereni was often called upon to perform the karanga for Māori Affairs, Hastings District Council and other Government agencies. This still continues with Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc, and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga acknowledging her as their “Kuia”. In 2004 George passed away but Kereni continues her dedicated work for Ngāti Mihiroa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Ao Māori.

Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi

Merimeri Penfold (Ngāti Kuri) was born at Te Hapua in 1920. Her parents were Te Mutunga Rāpata Hoterene and Maro Heteraka. She went to primary school at Hapua before attending college at Quen Victoria and Auckland Girls’ Grammar, this was followed by Teachers’ Training College. As well as being a mother to five children, Meremere spent thirty years of her 64 year teaching career as a lecturer in Te Reo Māori at Auckland University and has dedicated her life to advocating for tikanga and Te Reo Māori. In 2000 the University of Auckland honoured her with an Honorary Doctorate of Literature. She was a member of the Māori Education Foundation, and an executive member of the Broadcasting Commission from 1989 to 1991. As well as her involvement with numerous publications, Dr Penfold was also a co-member of the editorial team that worked on the seventh edition of Williams Māori Language Dictionary. In 2001 Merimeri Penfold was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori.
As well as extensive involvement with a number of organisations including the Māori Women’s Welfare League, Merimeri played a major role in setting up Waipapa Marae at Auckland University. Although now retired in Auckland, Merimeri supports the James Henare Research Centre and is involved in the compilation of a dictionary of the Taitokerau dialect.

Te Tohu Toi Kē

George Henare (Ngāti Porou) is an acclaimed actor on the stage and screen. He has been a familiar face in New Zealand televison and theatre for over thirty years. Born in Gisborne in 1945, George was the third youngest of ten children. He spent the first 12 years of his life on a sheep and cattle farm in the Whakaangiangi Valley, 15 kilometres inland from Te Aroroa. After attending Gisborne Boys’ High School he went on to Ardmore Teachers’ College. After a successful audition for a New Zealand Opera production of Porgy and Bess in 1965, George abandoned the teaching profession for a career in theatre.
After establishing himself as a reputable actor in New Zealand including receiving an OBE in 1988 for services to theatre, George Henare spent time in Australia touring with Jesus Christ Superstar, Phantom of the Opera as well guest appearances in numerous television series.
Back in New Zealand more theatre followed and television including Xena, Hercules, Shortland St, Mercy Peak and Street Legal. His film career includes Once Were Warriors, The Silent One, Rapa Nui, Crooked Earth and Johnny Lingo.
In 2006 George Henare won the Best Actor Award at the Chapman Tripp Awards for his performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. George Henare receives the Te Waka Toi Te Tohu Toi Kē for his dedication to theatre.

Ngā Karahipi a te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Scholarships

Aimee- Rose Stephenson (Ngāti Mārau) is a student in the Master of Māori Visual Arts programme at Te Pūtahi A Toi, Massey University in Palmerston North. Aimee-Rose’s installation work to date deals with cultural discomfort around the public and private places within the realm of health care. Her use of materials to entice and repulse is a key element of her work.
Pofessor Robert Jahnke, Head of School at Te Pūtahi A Toi, Massey University, describes Aimee Rose as “probably one of the most able conceptual thinkers that I have taught at Massey University in the Māori Visual Arts programme”.

Waiana Jones (Te Arawa, Te Aupouri) is a student in the Spatial Honours programme at AUT in Auckland. Waiana is described by Sue Gallagher, Senior Lecturer and Spatial Postgraduate Strand Leader as “an emerging digital designer of immense potential”. She says Waiana has “an incredible ability to challenge urban space through a masterful negotiation between tikanga Māori and the digital realm.”
As a student who has come through Kohanga and bi-lingual/ total emmersion education, Waiana is keen to incorporate tikanga Māori into her work. On the completion of her studies she hopes to work in the architecture/ design industry.

Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi

Iritana Tawhiwhirangi (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Canadian, English descent) is the 2008 Te Tohu Tiketike a Te Waka Toi recipient for her outstanding contribution to the retention and development of Te Reo Māori. Iritana was born at Hicks Bay in 1929. After attending Hukarere Māori Girls High where she was DUX, she began teaching on the East Coast after graduating in 1948, before joining the Department of Māori Affairs as a Welfare Officer in Ruatoria. It was in this role that she worked to develop a network of playcentres on the East Coast, the first network of early childhood education for Māori in the regions. Her involvement with early childhood education continued when she moved to Lower Hutt in 1972, and in 1980 she became the first Maori woman to be appointed as one of the department’s district officers, rising to be chief executive of the department’s community services section the following year. It was during this period that the seeds for the Te Kohanga Reo movement were sown and in 1982 she was appointed as an inaugural trustee and first general manager of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board, a position she held for two years.

The first kohanga reo, Pukeatua, was opened in Wainuiomata, one of about 100 established in 1982. By 1994, there were more than 800 catering for about 14,000 children. She returned to work for the department full-time in 1984 as
national director of community services and was appointed assistant secretary of Maori Affairs in 1986. Retiring from the Department in 1989, in 1990 she returned to the trust board, where she served as chief executive officer until 2003. She remains a trustee of the board. Mrs Tawhiwhirangi has served on a host of government and official committees and working parties involved in the development of education policy. She was a member of the ministerial working group for the development of a strategic plan for early childhood education in 2001, and facilitated the collaborative bicultural project that resulted in the development of Te Whariki, the Ministry of Education early childhood curriculum for all New Zealanders.
She has been involved with a wide variety of community organizations, including the Maori Women’s Welfare League, of which she is a life member, and the Maori Education Trust. She has been a guest lecturer at the former Wellington College of Education, Victoria University, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, the University of British Columbia and the University of Utah.
She received an MBE in 1992, a Women’s Suffrage Medal in 1993 and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001. In 2006 Iritana Tawhiwhirangi received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Victoria University for the key role she has played in establishing the kohanga reo movement.


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