28 Nov 2015
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Tohunga, artists and community leaders have been honoured for their contributions to preserving and helping to secure the future of high-quality ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) at the 2015 Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards.
Weaving veteran Matekino Lawless, acclaimed artist Lisa Reihana and Māori language expert and advocate Rahera Shortland are among this year’s award recipients.
Established in 1986, the awards are the only national Māori arts awards that celebrate all artforms, recognising leadership, outstanding contribution, excellence and potential in ngā toi Māori.
Renowned tohunga raranga Matekino Lawless, QSM (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Whawhakia) has received the supreme award for exemplary contribution to ngā toi Māori, Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Weaving for 60 years, she is a role model whose benchmark is quality. Her skills and expertise continue to be recognised nationally and internationally. She was awarded the Queens Service Medal (QSM) in 1999 and a Creative New Zealand Kingi Ihaka Te Waka Toi Award in 2008 to honour her contribution to the art of weaving.
Te Tohu Toi Kē has been awarded to multi-disciplinary artist Lisa Reihana, MDes, BFA (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngai Tu) for making a positive difference to ngā toi Māori. Lisa has contributed in powerful ways to multimedia, photography, sculpture and screen culture in Aotearoa. Most recently, Lisa was selected to represent Aotearoa at the prestigious 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, where she will present her acclaimed work In Pursuit of Venus [infected]. She will also take a version of the work to the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam next year.
Rahera Wiremu Shortland (Ngāpuhi) has been awarded Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi for her contribution to strengthening and promoting the Māori language. In the past 40 years she has been committed to the revitalisation of Te Reo as an integral part of the everyday lives of Māori people. A long supporter and advocate of Te Ataarangi, she was one of the first adult Māori language Teacher Trainees and started the first Māori Language immersion programme at secondary level in the country.
Kaumātua and kuia who have devoted their lives to strengthening Māori culture through their support of Māori arts were honoured with Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka.
Image caption: 2015 Te Waka Toi winners. Left to right: Hana-lee Kereru-Wainohu, Lisa Reihana, Kevin Kelland (on behalf of Mapihi Kelland), Huhana Morgan, Te Ariki Morehu, Matekino Lawless, Pareaute Nathan, Karanga Metekingi, Maata Wharehoka. Absent: Rahera Shortland, Mapihi Kelland. Photographer: Andrew Warner.
Senior Communications Adviser, Creative New Zealand
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