He Maimai Aroha ki a Muriwai Ihakara

10 Jan 2022

This content is tagged as Creative NZ .

NEWS

Muriwai Ihakara at the Te Waka Toi Awards, standing in front of a podium, addressing a crowf.
Muriwai Ihakara at the Te Waka Toi Awards 2014

Taku manawa e kakapa nei,
E kakapa ana ki ngä whetū,
Ki te marama ka tau nei ki te rua.

Kātahi au ka kite i te hē,
Kātahi au ka kite i te mate.
Ko taku tau kahurangi, ka riro ki Paerau, ki te huihuinga o te Kahurangi.
Ka oti atu rā koutou ki te pō.

E Muriwai ko koe rā kua rere atu ki te kāhui rangatira e tatari mai i a koe. Kia kakengia e koe tō waka whakarei ki Te Reinga e titiro ake ai koe ki ngā tai e rua e papaki mai rā. Ka heke atu ai koe ki te pohutukawa e tu mai rā e kore a muri e hokia.

E te totara whakarangiora, te kākā kura, tarahae kua ngaro. He kanohi kitea koe i nga marae maha o tō whānau, hapu, iwi katoa o te motu. He ihumanea, he kaitiaki nō tōna pātaka iringa kōrero, kua kore. He toki whakaniko i te kōrero i ngā tau kua pahure mō tātou ngā kaimahi o Toi Aotearoa, kua riro. Aue te mamae e ngaukino nei e te tau o taku ate.

Kāti rā, ‘He kokonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea’. Haere, haere moe mai ra.

It is with great sadness that Creative New Zealand acknowledges the passing of Muriwai Ihakara.

“Muriwai was more than a colleague, he was a scholar, a teacher, an expert knowledge holder, an orator of immense skill, a traditional performing arts exponent of the highest accord and he rightfully advocated the value of te ao Māori and nga toi Māori (Māori arts) in the New Zealand arts scene.

Over the decade Muriwai worked with Creative New Zealand, it was this passion and expertise that helped guide Creative New Zealand’s values and directed how we could best serve the arts sector.  Anything that did not meet tikanga (was not just), he argued against, such as the 90-day employment trial period - “it did not uphold a person’s mana”. 

Another example, Te Waka Toi Māori Arts Awards.  Muriwai understood there was no separation between te ao Māori and ngā toi Māori (the Māori world and its arts).  Kaumātua knowledge, he knew was an artform in itself that should be acknowledged.  As such, there have been over 140 kaumātua recognised through Te Waka Toi Awards for expertise in Māori knowledge and leadership. 

If we consider how the arts influence Aotearoa New Zealand and the part Creative New Zealand has in this, I for one will look back and acknowledge that Muriwai Ihakara was one who challenged us to embrace te ao Māori for our nation’s wellbeing. 

Thank you for your immense wisdom, Muriwai, take your rest my friend.”

- Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand

"We will always be grateful for Muriwai’s leadership, knowledge and most of all ngākau Māori which underpinned everything he said and did. My primary memories are of seeing Muriwai in full flight as the chief navigator of the 2012 and 2016 Aotearoa delegations to the Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands and Guam respectively, and how his leadership provided the foundation for the success of both of those huge endeavours.

And in turn how that leadership bred respect far and wide - and that is echoed in the many testaments that I have heard about him over the last couple of days.

So we say aere-ra e te ‘oa -aere ki te po. Kua ‘inga te tumu tamanu nui ki te oneone. E kua rongo ia te paakuukuu, mei teta’i moana ki teta’i moana (Farewell friend, the great mahogany tree has fallen to the ground and the sound has been heard from sea to sea)."

- Caren Rangi (ONZM), Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa