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Ngā Tohu O Matariki O Te Tau 2021 – On Māori+ And Māori Television!

Six60, Witi Ihimaera, Stacey Morrison, Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Uruta and Kataraina & Tāwhirimātea Williams were among the recipients acknowledged for their outstanding contributions to te Ao Māori at Māori Television’s fifth annual Matariki Awards – Ngā Tohu o Matariki o te Tau 2021.

The Supreme Award went to Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Uruta in recognition of their work in coordinating a nationwide COVID-19 pandemic response that addressed and met the needs of whānau Māori.

Shane Taurima, Tāhuhu Rangapū of Māori Television described the Matariki Awards as one of the highlights of the Māori Television calendar.

“It is a privilege and an honour to be entrusted with the production of these prestigious Awards that recognise and celebrate the outstanding and extraordinary achievements and contributions of some truly inspirational people and groups,” says Shane Taurima.

The Awards and recipients are:

The Awards were hosted by award-winning broadcaster Moana Maniapoto in front of an enthusiastic audience that included Minister Willie Jackson and other leading lights of te Ao Māori.

“The calibre of nominations made the selection process incredibly difficult, but only reinforce to us all that te Ao Māori is thriving,” Shane Taurima says.

The judges were: Dr Hinemoa Elder, Professor Rawinia Higgins, Rangimarie Hunia, Dr Rangi Mataamua, Tamati Olsen and Larry Parr,

Winner profiles

Hiwaiterangi – Young Achiever: Georgia Latu (Kai Tahu/Ngāpuhi)

Sponsored by Te Kura o te Aho Pounamu (Te Kura)

This award acknowledges those aged under 30 years of age as at 31 December 2020, who have made an outstanding achievement in their respective area(s) of interest and demonstrate the potential to be a future aspirational leader.

Georgia Latu, 14, (Kai Tahu, Ngāpuhi) is the CEO of Pōtiki Poi, the largest Māori-owned poi manufacturer in the world. Pōtiki Poi make, sell, distribute and teach the craft of Aotearoa original poi to local and international customers.

The year 2020 was a booming year for Georgia, who diversified into creating earrings, clothing, and even wrote a book during Aotearoa’s COVID-19 lockdown. Entitled ‘Ngā Mihi’, the book was published in partnership with creative agency Maui Studios and is set to start selling this year.

Tipuānuku – Education: Chris Selwyn

Sponsored by Te Oha o te Reo Māori

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution and demonstrated outstanding commitment in education.

Chris Selwyn has served as Tumuaki at Ngā Puna O Waiōrea for over 27 years and has devoted his life to Ngā Puna O Waiōrea, the rumaki reo within Western Springs College in central Tāmaki Makaurau.

He believed that to raise our children within a Māori setting would flow on to greater educational achievements. Today, 90% of the students attending Ngā Puna O Waiōrea finish Year 13 and their pass rate for NCEA Level 1 is above 85%. To put that achievement into perspective, the national average for Māori NCEA Level 1 achievement is 78.2%

Tipuārangi – Arts & Entertainment: Six60

Sponsored by Toi Māori

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution and demonstrated outstanding commitment in arts and entertainment.

SIX60 is a 5-piece band formed in 2008. The members are Ji Fraser (lead guitarist), Matiu Walters (guitarist), Marlon Gerbes (synths), Chris Mac (bassist), and Eli Paewai (drummer).

The band began in a humble Castle Street flat in Dunedin, and has since graced festivals and airwaves throughout Aotearoa. In 2019 they became the first New Zealand band to sell out Western Springs Stadium. In 2021 they became the first band to play Eden Park.

For six straight months in 2018, they had the most played song on the radio, with ‘Don’t Give it Up’ only ceding the top spot with another of their songs ‘Closer’. Twelve singles have gone platinum. Six60 have helped to put more te reo on the charts with their 2019 release of Kia Mau Ki To Ūkaipō / Don’t Forget Your Roots.

“I don’t know if [te reo Māori] is going to make its way into the mainstream, but we’re going to have a crack at it,” Six60 drummer Eli Paewai said. It was in 2020 that Six60 made international headlines, when they held a concert at Western Springs, to a sold out crowd of 50,000 people. With the world at a standstill during most of the year, this concert set the record for being the largest in the world at that time.

Waitī – Health and Science (Environment): Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Uruta

Sponsored by Māori Television

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution to health and science that includes but is not limited to; legislative and policy development, workforce development and retention, medicine, biophysics, biochemistry, environmental and cognitive sciences.

As COVID-19 began to take grip, a group of Māori health experts formed Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā to coordinate a nationwide pandemic response that best fit the needs of whānau Māori.

The main objective of the group is to provide clear and consistent information and resources to whānau, hapū and iwi to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to Māori. This is mainly communicated through a central website/web portal that includes information gathered and approved by the group’s Māori health professionals. The rōpū has also taken an advocacy role, pushing for an equity-led COVID-19 healthcare service recovery.

Waitā - Business & Innovation: Michelle Baker (Buy Māori Made)

Sponsored by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution and have successfully implemented initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to business innovation.

Buy Māori Made is a social media platform helping small Māori businesses following the COVID-19 2020 lockdown. In its first week, the Facebook page attracted over 18,000 members and is proving to be a popular platform, with some businesses selling out of products.

The Buy Māori Made Facebook page was set up by Michelle Baker from Te Tairāwhiti. For many Māori businesses, banding together under the Buy Māori Made banner has been an important step closer to recovering after lockdown. And there’s an appetite for these businesses, the page now has over 97,000 members.

Ururangi – Sports: Charlisse Leger-Walker (Te Whakatōhea / Ngāti Porou)

Sponsored by ACC

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution and have successfully implemented initiatives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to business innovation.

For Charlisse’s family, basketball runs in their blood. Not only has Charlisse excelled in the sport at a national and international level, her mother, Leanne, was part of the New Zealand basketball team for years. During this time she represented New Zealand at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. Having her mum as her personal coach, Charlisse’s passion and talent in basketball has been nurtured from childhood.

After moving to Seattle to play for Washington State, Charlisse quickly solidified a leading place in the team. It was during the first game of the season, a 60-52 victory over UW in Seattle, that she contributed 17 shots and 12 free throws on her way to 20 points. She also fielded seven rebounds, four steals, three blocks, and three assists.

Waipunarangi - Te Reo and Tikanga: Stacey Morrison (Te Arawa / Ngai Tahu)

Sponsored by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

This award recognises those who have made an extraordinary contribution championing the revitalisation of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga and proactively influence and increase awareness of te reo Māori me ngā tikanga in Aotearoa.

Stacey Morrison is a radio and TV broadcaster whose projects have spanned 25 years. She is also a mama to three young tamariki who have been brought up with te reo Māori as their mother tongue. Stacey herself didn’t learn to speak Māori until she was an adult. It required much research, determination, wonderful mentors, and a community’s support to achieve her goal of becoming fluent by the time her children were born.

Stacey and her husband Scotty co-wrote Māori at Home to help other families use te reo in everyday settings, and Stacey’s first children’s book, My First Words in Māori, became a number-one bestseller.

Both Stacey and Scotty work with many groups and families to build Māori-language friendships and community for whānau. Stacey has also been an advisor on pre-schooler and children’s TV shows, which, along with her experiences with her children, has helped her identify the words children pick up early in their language learning.

Matariki – Community: Te Māhurehure Marae

This award recognises Māori groups or organisations that have made an extraordinary contribution to enhance the cultural, social, economic and environmental prosperity in their community.

Fresh from celebrating its 50th birthday, Te Māhurehure Marae partnered with Te Rūnanganui o Ngāpuhi and Ngāpuhi Hauora to deliver care packages to kaumātua from Silverdale to Port Waikato and Northland. The marae delivered more than 4,000 packs to families in need during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The aid project was led by the marae’s operations manager Tracey Panapa, who was assisted by volunteers from Hokianga. Coordinating with other organisations including the Student Army, Corrections and Sky TV, Te Māhurehure Marae worked hard to ensure the wellbeing of hundreds of families.

Te Huihuinga o Matariki - Lifetime Achievement Award: Witi Ihimaera (Te Aitanga -A-Maha Ki / Tūhoe Te Whānau-Ā-Apanui)

Sponsored by Te Puni Kōkiri

This award honours the achievement of an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of the nation.

Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler DCNZM QSM, was born in Gisborne in 1944 and has Iwi affiliations with Tūhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou, and Te Whakatōhea. His family marae is Te Rongopai Marae in Waituhi, and he grew up in Waituhi.

In the 1986 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Witi Ihimaera was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for public services. In the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Distinguished companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to literature.

Witi’s best-known work, The Whale Rider, was released in 1987 and is the story of a young girl becoming a leader of her people. It has been reprinted numerous times and was adapted into the critically acclaimed film of the same name in 2002.

Witi has been recognised as one of the world’s leading Indigenous writers, and is celebrated as a voice for Māoritanga and a literary legend in New Zealand.

Dr Ihakara Porutu Puketapu (Te Ati Awa)

Dr. Ihakara Porutu “Kara” Puketapu was born in 1934 in Lower Hutt, Wellington. He is a leader of the Te Āti Awa iwi and grew up in Taranaki. Dr. Puketapu was a top rugby player in his youth and was a New Zealand Māori All Black from 1955-56. He later enjoyed a successful rugby league coaching career.

Dr. Puketapu’s innovations include Hui Taumata, the Kohanga Reo movement and the Tu Tangata (stand tall) programme. He created Kōkiri, or community-based training centres and led reforms of the Māori Land Court. He built important programmes for the development of Māori assets and encouraged Māori to join the public service and fill significant positions there.

Dr Puketapu’s most public achievement was the 1980’s exhibition Te Māori, which brought Māori art and New Zealand’s wider culture to an international audience.

After a successful run at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Saint Louis Art Museum and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, Te Māori toured New Zealand.

Dr. Puketapu was awarded the Kīngitanga honour by Kīngi Tūheitia in 2014, for his contribution as the architect of the original Tu Tangata reforms. He had previously declined nominations for national honours. In 2019 Dr. Puketapu won the Te Māori Award from Creative New Zealand for his role in the success of the Te Māori art exhibition.

Kataraina & Tāwhirimātea Williams (Ngāi Tūhoe / Te Whakatōhea / Te Aupōuri / Ngāti Mania)

In 1977, Kaa and her husband Tāwhirimātea started New Zealand’s first bilingual and then total immersion Māori medium school in Ruatoki, Te Kura o Ruatoki, which was a precursor to kohanga reo and Kura Kaupapa schools. It was an iwi school, which belonged to Tūhoe. At the time, Kaa spoke more te reo than Tāwhiri- who learnt during his time as tumuaki.

In 1996, the family moved to Auckland following a job offer from Tāwhirimatea’s uncle the Anglican Bishop of Aotearoa, Whakahuihui Vercoe.

For the past two decades, Kaa and her husband have been leaders at Te Wānanga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, which is now a private Māori teacher training institution. They insist that each region needs their own whare wānanga to teach their own unique dialects. Tāwhirimātea says, “What’s most important to us is that our students graduate as Māori language specialist and teachers equipped to teach children.”

Kaa was appointed a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, for services to Māori in 2009 while Tawhiri is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to Māori and Education. Kaa is also a winner of the Best Reo Māori Television Presenter (Female) award. During 2020’s COVID 19 lockdowns, Kaa and Tawhiri became students, learning how to deliver their tutorials online as an alternative during lockdown. The couple faced the challenge with grace and aplomb.

Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea - Supreme Award: Te Roopū Whakakaupapa Uruta

Sponsored by Te Puni Kōkiri

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