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'Face of Courage' is pretty in pink

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
Press Release
7 October 2009

‘Face of Courage’ is pretty in pink

Trelise Cooper, top New Zealand fashion designer, has given Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi’s Charity Ball a glamorous boost in the form of a size 6 pink dress.

The dress – fresh from the catwalks at New Zealand Fashion Week - is being modelled by six-year-old Irihapeti Ruawai, who is recovering from cancer and is the “face of courage” of the Live the Journey Charity Ball, to be held on October 31 in Whakatane.

“We are really excited that fashion designer Trelise Cooper is supporting the Live the Journey Charity Ball. The dress is one of many exclusive items to be auctioned during the evening,” wananga financial manager and ball organiser Deborah Hyland said.

The chief executive officer of Awanuiārangi, Distinguished Professor Graham Smith said this was great news and welcomed the contribution from one of New Zealand’s leading fashion identities.

An excited Irihapeti has had a photo shoot and video session in the stunning pink outfit. Last year she was diagnosed with stage three neuroblastoma, a solid tumour of cancer, which occurs in the developing cells of the sympathetic nervous system. She underwent surgery to remove the cancerous tumour from her abdomen and has just completed seven months of intense chemotherapy treatment at Starship Hospital.

Professor Smith said the charity ball was an important opportunity for Awanuiārangi to acknowledge the significant contribution that the chosen charities have made.

“Supporting their efforts is important to us not just as a tertiary institution, but as a community organisation,” Professor Smith said.

The fundraiser hopes to raise up to $50,000 for Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty and the Child Cancer Foundation. Organisers have already received a large number of items to auction.

“A signed shirt worn by 2008’s Indy 500 winner, Scott Dixon, should attract some great bids. Other exclusive items include a Tiger Woods signed Nike Glove, a unique collector’s piece from the Greatest Golfer in the World and a signed U2 guitar.

“We will also be auctioning off a signed 2009 Kiwi’s jersey thanks to Whakatane-born league star Benji Marshall who will captain the Kiwis against Tonga next week, a website development package valued at over $5,000 and the new super trendy HP Mini 5101 Netbook valued at $1,500,” Ms Hyland said.

The event has attracted a large number of sponsors including international business consultants PricewaterhouseCooper and Deloittes, ANZ and BNZ banks. Other sponsors include national IT companies Eclipse and Business Mechanix and iwi organisations Ngāti Awa Group Holdings and Ngāti Tūwharetoa (BOP) Settlement Trust. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is also a major sponsor.

Ms Hyland said there was a great community response to the charity ball.

“It’s definitely a hot-ticket event and we have sold almost all of the tables.”

The prestigious event features well-known entertainer Pio Terei as MC and a major highlight of the evening will be the opening performance by Te Waka Huia, the 2009 National Kapa Haka champions. Opera singers William Winitana and Mere Boynton are also confirmed along with local talent Tait Kora and Shelley Akuhata. “The 3”, a trio from the Whakatāne Music Society will be performing during the champagne reception. Jerome Kavanagh who plays Māori flutes (taonga puoro) will perform while NativeARTZ artist Marcus Winter, will be painting an item for auction live on stage. Winter is an indigenous artist of New Zealand, and is the only "performance painter" of his kind in Australasia and the Pacific.

“We are privileged to have Marcus performing his unique style of live speed painting at our event” Ms Hyland said.

Guests will be treated to a sumptuous gourmet meal prepared by special guest chef Charles Royal. His specialty is the use of native herbs and spices creating a uniquely Aotearoa flavour. Also in attendance will be Pete Peeti, well known chef and presenter of the television programme Kai Time on the Road.

Well-known sports personalities are being invited and league legend Tawera Nikau and world BMX champion Sarah Walker have already confirmed their attendance.


Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi was established in 1991 by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and officially became a Wānanga in 1997. The formation of Awanuiārangi recognised the role of education in providing positive pathways for Māori development.

The founding kaupapa is:

Rukuhia te mātauranga ki tōna hōhonutanga me tōna whānuitanga.

Pursue knowledge to its greatest depths and its broadest horizons.

The name “Awanuiārangi” is linked to the whakapapa of the Mataatua canoe, which landed at Whakatāne. Many tribal groups claim descent from the Mataatua canoe and the ancestor Awanuiārangi. These include Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Manawa and Ngāti Whare. Although Awanuiārangi has strong links to the people of Mataatua, its doors of learning have always been open to all. Fifteen years on, it now provides educational opportunities to all Māori and New Zealanders through campuses based in Whakatāne, Wellington (Poneke), and Auckland (Tāmaki).


From the Whakatāne site, Awanuiārangi serves the traditional rohe of Mataatua, namely from Ngā Kuri ā Whārei (Katikati) to Tihirau (Cape Runaway), and extending inland to Ruatāhuna. It then reaches out further to wherever Mataatua and Māori populations live.

Poneke / Wellington

The Wellington site – Awanuārangi ki Pōneke – recognises ancestral links between Ngāti Awa and Te Atiawa, through their common ancestor Awanuiārangi and the whakapapa relationship between the two iwi.

Tāmaki / Auckland

From the Auckland site – Awanuārangi ki Tāmaki – reaches into Northland, is based on the same whakapapa links – Puhi being the teina of Toroa, who both captained the Mataatua waka on different occasions. Links are also reinforced through place names as well as whakapapa for example Ōwairaka (Mt Albert) and Te Puna ō Wairaka signifies the journeys and deeds of Ngāti Awa’s ancestor, Wairaka and the link of Ngāti Awa into that area.

This higher tertiary study is supported by a vibrant academic community led by an impressive number of Māori PhD staff and supported by an adjunct faculty of national and international experts – all committed to the journey of developing Awanuiārangi into a widely recognised centre for Māori scholarship.

For more information see www.wananga.ac.nz .


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