A graduate of Rotorua's famous carving school and a Taupo-based iwi representative and orator are two of 10 people honoured at the 2016 Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards held in Rotorua yesterday.

The awards honour contributions to Maori arts and help to preserve and secure the future of high-quality Maori arts across the country.

Established in 1986, the awards are the only national Maori arts awards that celebrate all art forms, recognising leadership, outstanding contribution, excellence and potential.

The supreme award - Te Tohu Aroha mo Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu - was given to acclaimed writer Patricia Grace, DCNZM, QSO.


The short story writer and children's writer is widely recognised as a key figure in the emergence of Maori fiction in English since the 1970s.

Her work, expressive of Maori consciousness and values, is distinguished also for the variety of Maori people and ways of life it portrays.

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr was given the Te Tohu Toi Ke Waka Toi award in recognition of leadership and for making a significant, positive difference to the development and practice of Maori art.

Mr Barclay-Kerr has specialised in education and leadership programmes that use the waka as a platform for learning and development.

He has been sailing waka throughout the Pacific for 35 years.

Mana Elizabeth (Liz) Hunkin, better known as Whaea Liz, was given the Strengthening the Maori language - Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi award for recognising leadership and outstanding contribution to the promotion and strengthening of Te Reo Rangatira.

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She has made an outstanding contribution to the survival of te reo through her own passionate teaching and her determination to help others succeed.

She has extensive experience in Maori education at primary and tertiary levels.

The Lifetime of service to Maori arts - Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka - award was given to four people in recognition of a lifetime contribution to the arts and strengthening Maori culture.

Taupo kaumatua Te Kanawa Pitiroi, a respected educator, is a tribal speaker and representative for paramount chief Sir Tumu te Heuheu and has extensive experience in Maori, iwi, and community education initiatives and is a respected elder of the Ngati Tuwharetoa people.

Keri Kaa, CNZM, is a well-known and loved East Coast taonga.

A Wellington Teachers College lecturer and a writer associated with the artists and writers in the Herstory diary, Haeata, and Waiata Koa collectives she is now based in Rangitukia and teaches at the local wananga.

Professor Piri Sciascia, ONZM, is the recently retired Deputy Vice Chancellor Maori at Victoria University of Wellington.

Professor Sciascia has been involved in the conservation and promotion of Maori performing arts for more than 40 years - as a member of the Maori Theatre Trust world tour in 1970, and the founder of Tamatea Arikinui kapa haka and also a performer, composer, tutor, advisor, and leader for the group.

Hokimoana Te Rika Hekerangi is a distinguished tribal leader and resident Te Papa kaumatua during the exhibition Tuhoe: Children of the Mist, she was a founding member of the Tawharangi Maori Women's Welfare League and her in-depth knowledge of tikanga and te reo Maori is renowned.

Picking up the Emerging Maori Artists - Nga Manu Pirere - award and funding grant in recognition of achievement by a young Maori artist at an early career stage, was Cori Marsters, a graduate of NZMACI Carving School in Rotorua.

Mr Marsters also won Iti Waewae - the Emerging Maori Artist award in 2014.

The grant will aid his research of patoe taua (traditional Maori headdress).

And finally, Te Kanawa Ngarotata, BMVA, will use his degree as a tool for his career as an artist.

He got off to a great start as the 2016 Artist in Residence with The Longhouse Education and Cultural Centre at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, USA.