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Creative New Zealand celebrates achievements in Maori arts

Te Waka Toi, the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand, held the annual Nga Taonga Toi Awards Evening on September 7, recognising outstanding contributions to Maori arts and culture. According to a media release, a feature of the awards was the number of recipients recognised for their contribution to the promotion and strengthening of the Maori language, teo reo. Chair of Te Waka Toi, Elizabeth Ellis, has commented that teo reo underpins Maori Culture. 'It is a vital, living language that has relevance in the twenty-first century and Te Waka Toi is committed to providing opportunities for Maori to contribute to its growth,' she remarked. Below are the names of the recipients of the awards;

  • Mate Kawai of Ruatoria is the recipient of Te Tohu mo te Reo Rangatira/Te Waka Toi Award for Te Reo.
  • Four Maori ‘kaumatua’ (tribal elders) received the Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka/Sir Kingi Ihaka Awards also in recognition of their contribution to te reo Maori. They are; - Roka Paora of Hamilton - Haupai Tawhara of Auckland - Mereheni Waitoa of Te Araroa on the East Coast - Anaru Takurua of Tokomaru Bay on the East Coast, who is also regarded as a living legend in kapa haka circles. - Henare Te Ua of Auckland, who is said to be affectionately regarded as one of the elder statesmen of New Zealand broadcasting.
  • Robert Jahnke was the recipient of the Te Tohu Mahi Hou a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Award for New Work, recognising his contribution to the development of new directions in Maori art.
  • The Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi/Te Waka Toi Scholarships, valued at $2,500 each, were awarded to; - Timua Brennan, has been accepted into the Bel Canto Italia Opera School in Florence. - Kelcy Taratoa, is currently studying at Massey University towards a degree in Maori visual arts. - Monique Vette, is currently studying for a degree in design, majoring in sculpture at Unitec in Auckland.

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