Congratulations Te Waka Toi Awards 2019, many of whom are exemplary Toi Iho Artists.

Award recipients

2019 Te Waka Toi Award recipients with members of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotrearoa.
2019 Te Waka Toi Award recipients with members of the Arts Council.

Ngā Manu Pīrere | Award to recognise emerging Māori artists

Cian Gardner  Ngāpuhi
Theatre: Writer, Producer, Performer


Is a founding member of Cove Theatre based in Hamilton. Cian recently completed a Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts at Waikato University. She co-founded Cove Theatre in her last year of study at Waikato University and then their first production Rauru, which she co-wrote, performed and produced, went on to be programmed by both the Rotorua Fringe Festival and Kia Mau Festival.

Cian clearly centers kaupapa Māori behind the stories she develops and uses theatre to strengthen connections to her whakapapa and Mātauranga Māori. Cian has proven her bright future by securing further funding for the development and tour of works to Hamilton, Wellington and Auckland.

Ashley (Hine) Waitai-Dye  Ngāti Kuri
Tārai Waka, Tā Moko


Hine Waitai-Dye is of Ngāti Kuri descent. Hine is currently studying Waka building at the New Zealand Māori Institute of Arts and Crafts, and she wishes to continue this mahi as well as her work as a Tā Moko artist her upbringing in Te Taitokerau has informed her strong knowledge of Mātauranga Toi.

Hine has assisted with the building of waka for the Suquamish Nation and contributed to the construction of canoes in Hilo, Hawaii and the recent Rātā waka symposium in Whāngarei.  The judges noted that Hine is a strong role model for Māori women, unafraid to enter areas usually seen as the realm of men in tā moko, whakairo and canoe building; and when having acquired these skills and experiences continues to return home to her iwi of Ngāti Kuri, thereby demonstrating her commitment to te ‘hau kāinga’. 

Te Tohu Toi Kē a Te Waka Toi | Making a Difference

Nancy Brunning  Ngāti Raukawa/Tūhoe
Theatre: Actor, Writer, Director, Producer


Award winning actor, director, writer Nancy Brunning has been a major force in kaupapa Māori stories and an advocate for te reo Māori. She dedicated many years to supporting arts practitioners and was renowned for setting very high standards while coaching and as a Director for both for stage and film.

In 2014 Nancy was awarded a CNZ  internship to attend the indigenous writing programme at the Banff Centre in Canada. Her most recent work was Witi’s Wāhine which she wrote and directed. The play premiered to great acclaim at the inaugural Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in October this year. Co-founder of Hāpai Productions with actor/director Tanea Heke, Nancy was also a valued arts assessor for CNZ. 

Nancy passed away peacefully on 16 November with her family beside her. Sadly Nancy’s passing came the day before she was publicly named as the recipient of the Bruce Mason Award 2019 by Playmarket.  Her Te Waka Toi Award will be received by her family.

Te Tohu aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi: “Whakarongo, Titiro, Kōrero” | Award for strengthening Te Reo Rangatira

Derek Lardelli  Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Konohi (Ngai Te Riwai), Ngāti Kaipoho (Ngai Te Aweawe)
Te Reo, Whaikōrero, Visual Arts, Haka, Tā Moko, Composer


Painter, carver, traditional Māori performance artist, composer, graphic designer, researcher of whakapapa, oral histories and kaikōrero, renowned tā moko artist and a champion for te reo Māori .  Derek won NZ Arts Foundation Laureate award in 2004, was the inaugural Gallipoli artist-in-residence in 2006, and was awarded the honour of Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2008. Renowned for designing large scale art works on Hikurangi maunga to installing knowledge into NZ Olympians and the All Blacks. 

Te Tohu Whakamanawa o Te Matatini | Recognising outstanding contribution to Kapa Haka

Wetini Mitai-Ngatai  Te Arawa, Te Whakatohea
Kapa Haka


Traditional performance arts (kapa haka) traditional martial arts (mau rākau), business entrepreneur.  Having performed throughout Rotorua for many groups, Wetini and Irirangi Tiakiawa Tahuriorangi started the renowned performance group Te Mātārae I Ōrehu in 2002.  Wetini has been awarded the national male leader title at Te Matatini  a total of five times and in a very short timeframe, Te Mātārae I Ōrehu has won the national title two times.  In 2002 Wetini founded Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua, a Māori cultural performance and tourism attraction at Fairy Springs (Te Puna o Tūhoe), Rotorua. Through Mitai, Wetini wanted to provide employment for family and the wider community. As it nears 20 years of operation it  employs more than 100 people including thirteen full-time staff. 

Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka | Sir Kingi Ihaka Awards recognising lifetime contribution


Maureen Robin Lander – Ngāpuhi
Multimedia artist, Installation, Rāranga and Academic

Of Ngāpuhi (Te Hikutu hapū) and Pākehā descent, Maureen has exhibited nationally and internationally, taught Māori fibre arts at Auckland University, written for various publications and in 2002 was awarded a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Auckland University – and an inaugural Māori Academic Excellence Award, Fine Arts, Music, and Performing Arts, Te Tohu Toi Ururangi, sponsored by Toi Māori.

Rim D Paul  Te Arawa
Music: Showbands, Choral


Rim D Paul is an important choral leader with a career that has brought high-quality Māori music to new domains.  Noted for connecting Māori Choral groups with choral groups from range of ethnicities around the country, Rim has also worked with Māori showbands the Māori Hi-Quins and the Quin-Tikis. Rim D Paul has distinguished Māori music ancestry –  his father Tai Paul, the musical arranger for the Howard Morrison Quartet and the Māori National Choir. In 1990 Rim formed the choir for New Zealand’s 1990 Sesquicentennial that performed at WOMAD 1992.  In 2013 at the age of 71, Rim D Paul produced his first solo album, Waiata, Wairua, Waiora

Sonia Armana Snowden – Ngāpuhi
Rāranga, Whatu, Tukutuku


A senior weaver in Aotearoa, respected within the ranks of equally accomplished senior weavers and part of Ngā Kahui Whiritoi, Sonia is widely admired for her fine weaving, especially her whāriki, kākahu, kete whaikairo, and tukutuku.

Sonia has also been a teacher of younger weavers and a long-time participant in Te Roopu Rāranga Whatu o Aotearoa (New Zealand National Māori Weavers’ Collective).  For many years, Sonia has been a tutor in weaving at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. 

Allen Wihongi  Ngāpuhi
Whakairo, Mixed-media


Born in Kawakawa and educated in Kaikohe and at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts Allen had an extensive 30-year career as a teacher that included positions as a senior lecturer in the School of Design at Wellington Polytechnic and the head of the School of Applied Arts at Northland Polytechnic.

Allen worked for 12 years for the Ngapuhi Runanga in Kaikohe and has been a Māori design consultant on a number of significant projects, including the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the National Memorial in Wellington and the New Zealand Memorial Anzac Parade in Canberra.  His design work and carvings have earned him respect in New Zealand and overseas.

John Klaricich  Ngāpuhi
Te Reo, Whaikōrero, Literature, photography


John Karicich has made a significant contribution in the retention and development of heritage, and oral arts pertaining to his people of Ngāpuhi.  John has firmly dedicated his efforts to the needs of his people of Ngāpuhi; His contributions and service to his people and community have been recognised by the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and Queen’s Service medals for service to community and Māori.

Te Tohu o Te Papa Tongarewa Rongomaraeroa | Outstanding contribution to Ngā Toi Māori

Kura Te Waru Rewiri  Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kauwhata, Ngāti Rangi
Visual Arts, Academic, Educator


From school age Kura was taught by some of New Zealand’s most prominent artists, Selwyn Wilson and Buck Nin who encouraged her to study at Ilam School of Fine Arts in Christchurch where she graduated in 1973 with a Diploma in Fine Art (Honours)

In 1974 Kura completed study to be a secondary teacher at Christchurch Training College and has taught at a number of New Zealand institutions, including secondary schools, tertiary colleges, universities and Whare Wananga.

Kura’s paintings are held in prestigious collections such as Wellington’s Te Papa Museum, Auckland Art Gallery, Waikato Museum of Art & History, Dunedin Art Gallery, The University of Auckland and the National Art Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust:

Te Māori Award: Recognising Leadership in the Development of the Te Māori Exhibition

Ihakara (Kara) Puketapu  Te Atiawa
Recognising the outstanding contribution by an individual to the success and legacy of Te Māori.


Kara was fundamental to the success of the Te Māori exhibition as Secretary for Māori Affairs, working under the auspices of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council.  This watershed international exhibition of Māori art – Te Māori (1984 – 1987) made a significant impact on the value of Māori cultural heritage, arts and people in New Zealand.  This award is to restate the importance of Te Māori in the present and for future generations.  The inaugural award will be a wahaika named Te Wehenga, produced by Rangi Kipa and acquired by Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust in 2015 to mark the launch of the new Trust deed.

Manaaki Taonga Award  Recognising the work of a Māori Artist who fulfils the legacy of Te Māori ‘He Taonga Tuku Iho’

Lewis Gardiner  Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu 


Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the foremost Māori pounamu artists in the country. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology here in Rotorua and during his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade).

In 1995, he became a full-time jade and bone carver specializing in traditional Māori imagery. For almost 25 years Lewis has run his own greenstone studio in Rotorua that is regarded as one of the foremost design studios in the country.  Lewis frequently exhibits internationally as part of residencies and artist exchanges.  

Te Tohu mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu | Exemplary/Supreme Award


Rex Homan  Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Atiawa

Rex Horman is a Coromandel-based artist and regarded as one of country’s finest wood-sculptors with a long career that found recognition in the 1960s and 1970s.  Rex describes his work as contemporary Polynesian, drawing heavily on nature and mythology.

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