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Toi Whakaari Director Receives Top Creative New Zealand Award

The 2020 Te Waka Toi Awards 30 November announced Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School Tumuaki/Director, Tanea Heke (Ngā Puhi) as the recipient of the 2020 Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi Making a Difference award.

Tanea Heke, 2020 Toi Whakaari Graduation Ceremony. Photo credit: Philip Merry

For the past 34 years, Te Waka Toi Awards have been recognising leading Māori artists, advocates and community leaders for outstanding achievement, leadership and excellence.

Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi award recognises leadership and outstanding contribution to the development of new directions in Māori art. Previous recipients have included Briar Grace-Smith, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Rāwiri Paratene, Taiaroa Royal, George Henare, Lisa Reihana and Nancy Brunning.

Toi Whakaari Board Chair Tim Walker praised Tanea’s achievements saying that her on-going commitment and contribution to toi Māori was what makes her such an exceptional Tumuaki for Toi Whakaari.

“On behalf of the board, staff and students, I want to congratulate Tanea on receipt of this award. Tanea’s vision, leadership and global scope is to be admired and this award is further proof our kura is in safe hands”, he said.

Tanea, received the award in a pre-recorded presentation surrounded by staff and students at Toi Whakaari. She says that it is a double honour to follow in the footsteps of dear friend and collaborator, the late Nancy Brunning who received the award in 2019.

“I give my thanks for this recognition. We are the storytellers, and to me making a difference is actively celebrating our voices, words and people. It is a double honour to receive this award after Nan”.

Hosted by the Arts Council of New Zealand and Toi Aotearoa / Creative New Zealand, 13 leading Māori artists, advocates and community leaders were recognised for outstanding achievement, leadership and excellence at these 34th annual Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi Awards.

The full list of award recipients is here:

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