Toi Ake - Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku: FAQs

Here are answers to some questions about the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative and our specific fund.

Creative New Zealand has been allocated $2.828 million from the $20 million fund designed to safeguard Mātauranga Māori and will work in partnership with tohunga, arts practitioners, whānau, hapū, iwi to deliver strategic initiatives across the motu over the next two years.

Read the media release Mātauranga Toi Māori to be protected for future generations

Background information on Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative on the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website

Last updated: 21 May 2021 

1. What is the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative?

The Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku initiative is administered by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and provides $20 million over two years to fund initiatives which will support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to safeguard at-risk mātauranga from the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Creative New Zealand is one of eight government and cultural agencies who will work in partnership with tohunga, arts practitioners and whānau, hapū and iwi, to deliver the initiatives across the motu.

2. How much has Creative New Zealand received and how will it be used?

Creative New Zealand has been allocated $2.828 million to support the following initiatives and organisations which will be distributed over 2020/21 and 2021/22.

Creative New Zealand Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiatives

Creative New Zealand is the coordinating agency for three key focus areas that will receive funding.

1) Toi Ake Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund.
2) Protecting and retention of critically endangered artforms.
3) Protecting, nurturing and growing Mātauranga Toi in rohe.

Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku FundCreative New Zealand will administer a $940,000 fund over two years offering project funding to support marae, hapū, iwi, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to protect, cultivate and retain mātauranga Māori related to heritage ngā toi Māori and foster their distinctive arts and cultural practices. In 2021/22 one round will be offered, opening on 23 August 2021. Further information is available on the Creative New Zealand website

Protection and retention of critically endangered artforms:

Tārai Waka -Led by tohunga, pūkenga and collectives of senior and emerging practitioners, this initiative will promote the retention and revitalisation of Tārai Waka (waka building knowledge). The programme is being developed by specialists in the building of waka and the generational transfer of mātauranga and skills pertaining to Tārai Waka.

Taonga Pūoro - Led by the Haumanu Collective, a national body of practitioners who work with Taonga Pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments), this initiative will support the revival which started in the early 1980s led by the late Dr Hirini Melbourne and many others to ensure the mātauranga, cultural and artistic practices associated with Taonga Pūoro can be retained and revitalised to flourish.

Protecting, nurturing and growing mātauranga toi in rohe:

Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival - this initiative, led by the Festival will protect, nurture and grow the mātauranga toi and ngā toi Māori within Te Tairāwhiti, with a specific focus on working with tohunga, pūkenga and emerging practitioners in rāranga, uku and whakairo. The Festival’s role as an organisation is to connect local artists with audiences, provide platforms for stories that need to be told, create spaces that uplift community, and curate moments packed with aroha.

Toi Ngāpuhi – this initiative is designed to retain at-risk mātauranga related to whakairo and to build a foundation of pūkenga and practitioners of Te Taitokerau who hold this knowledge and mātauranga o ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi. Toi Ngāpuhi works across Te Taitokerau in the Far North through its broad networks to protect and revitalise the distinctive Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu cultural heritage, expressions and identity; improve hapū wellbeing through cultural expression; establish benchmarks of cultural integrity and authenticity; and foster talent and opportunity.

3. Why have these kaupapa been chosen to receive funding?

The Toi Ake Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund was designed to enable groups and organisations across the motu to access project funding to support projects that would protect and retain their local mātauranga toi.

Tārai Waka and Taonga Puōro were initially recognised as at-risk artforms in 2009 as part of national research into the health of Māori heritage arts. Further research in 2019 confirmed these artforms as being extremely fragile and endangered due to the very low numbers of active senior practitioners who hold the mātauranga and technical skill and practice knowledge. These artforms were selected for support to build a stronger foundation of knowledge holders to protect and retain mātauranga toi.

The focus of mātauranga toi to be protected in specific rohe were chosen based on local knowledge of ngā toi Māori that was at-risk due to low numbers of tohunga or pūkenga and limited opportunities to pass on artform knowledge and skills.

4. Can initiatives / artists / art forms not noted here apply for any funding support?

Yes, the Toi Ake Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund supports marae, hapū, iwi, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to protect, cultivate and retain mātauranga Māori related to heritage ngā toi Māori and foster their distinctive arts and cultural practices. In 2021/22 one round will be offered, opening on 23 August 2021. Further information is available on the Creative New Zealand website

5. Is the funding for more than one year?

The funding is for two years (2020/21 and 2021/22) as a measure to protect against the impacts of COVID-19.

6. How many artists will be supported through the initiative?

The numbers of artists involved in all initiatives are not known yet as each programme will directly support tohunga and pūkenga working with emerging practitioners to ensure the retention of specific mātauranga and the programmes will also involve a wider range of artists being able to learn more about the artforms and mātauranga through publicly accessible initiatives delivered over the 2020/21 and 2021/22 period.

See who got funded in the first round in 2021

7. Can you name any of the other artists who might be included?

Please refer to partner information. 

Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Initiative Descriptors / Partner Biographies

Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund

In February 2021, Creative New Zealand will open the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund ($470,000 in 2020/21 and $640,000 in 2021/22) offering project funding to support marae, hapū, iwi, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to protect, cultivate and retain mātautanga Māori related to heritage ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) and foster their distinctive arts and cultural practices in February 2021. More information on the Fund will be available in mid December 2020 at www.creativenz.govt.nz

Protection and retention of critically endangered artforms – Tārai Waka

Led by tohunga, pūkenga and collectives of senior and emerging practitioners, this initiative will promote the retention and revitalisation of Tārai Waka (waka building knowledge), a critically endangered artform. The programme is being developed by specialists in the building of waka and the generational transfer of mātauranga and skills pertaining to Tārai Waka currently co-ordinated by tohunga tārai waka, Heemi Eruera.

Protection and retention of critically endangered artforms – Taonga Pūoro

Led by the Haumanu Collective, a national body of practitioners who work with Taonga Pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments), this initiative will support the revival which started in the early 1980s led by the late Dr Hirini Melbourne and many others to ensure the mātauranga, cultural and artistic practices associated with Taonga Pūoro can be retained and revitalised to flourish. Commentators within the Haumanu collective are recognised practitioners, Horomona Horo and Hinewirangi Morgan.

Protecting, nurturing and growing mātauranga toi in rohe – Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival

A programme led by Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival to protect, nurture and grow the mātauranga toi and ngā toi Māori within Te Tairāwhiti with a specific focus on working with tohunga, pūkenga and emerging practitioners in rāranga, uku and whakairo. Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival has at its heart the artists and audiences of Te Tairāwhiti – shining a light on the creativity of the place and people. The Festival’s role as an organisation is to connect local artists with audiences, provide platforms for stories that need to be told, create spaces that uplift community, and curate moments packed with aroha. Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival’s aim is to develop a programme everyone can get involved in, that extends the time you spend with the arts, champions local kōrero, and celebrates the rich imaginations of people across Te Tairāwhiti.

Protecting, nurturing and growing mātauranga toi in rohe – Toi Ngāpuhi

A programme led by Toi Ngāpuhi to retain at-risk mātauranga related to whakairo and to build the foundation of pūkenga and practitioners of Te Taitokerau who hold this knowledge and mātauranga o ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi. Toi Ngāpuhi works across Te Taitokerau in the Far North through its broad networks to protect and revitalise the distinctive Ngāpuhi-nui-tonu cultural heritage, expressions and identity; improve hapū wellbeing through cultural expression; establish benchmarks of cultural integrity and authenticity; and foster talent and opportunity https://toingapuhi.co.nz/

8. It seems that this is a closed opportunity - why can't any Māori artist or arts organisation apply for these opportunities?

Māori artists and arts organisations can apply to the Toi Ake Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund for projects to support the protection and retention of mātauranga toi. For further information about other funding opportunities please refer to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s website