Dr Rangi Mātāmua, Hinewehi Mohi and Otara Covid-19 response team finalists in Matariki Awards

By Jessica Tyson

The finalists in the Ngā Whetū o Matariki - Matariki Awards have been announced across nine categories ranging from business and innovation, arts and entertainment to te Reo and tikanga.

In the list of finalists is Māori astronomy expert Professor Dr Rangi Mātāmua, who has been nominated for Te Ururangi Award for Education, and musician Hinewehi Mohi who has been nominated for Te Waitī Award for te Reo and tikanga.

This year's event also includes a new category - Te Whetū Tārake o te Rangi - to honour those who made an outstanding contribution to the community during the Mate Korona (Covid-19) response.  Finalists for Te Whetū Tārake o te Rangi include the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, Takahitia Korowira and Otara Covid-19 CBNZ Response Team.

The awards, now in their fifth year, recognise outstanding Māori achievement and celebrate the best of Māori – ngā toa o ngā toa.

Māori Television tāhūhū rangapū Shane Taurima says the awards are an opportunity to acknowledge and honour those individuals and organisations whose passion, innovation and dedication are making a difference to communities and to the country.

“Ngā Whetū o Matariki is about acknowledging and celebrating outstanding Māori achievement. This year’s awards saw more than 150 entries, with the calibre and accomplishments exceeding expectations once again. The judging panel was particularly impressed by the diverse range of expertise among entrants, with many finalists leading their particular field,” he says.

The finalists are:

Te Whetū Tārake o te Rangi Award - Acknowledging those who made an outstanding contribution to the community during COVID lockdown:

  • Takahitia Korowira
  • Otara Covid-19 CBNZ Response Team
  • Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency

Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers – inspirational rangatahi proactive in social and community situations, motivating and encouraging others:

  • Jessie Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi)
  • Irihapeti Edwards (Ngāti Manawa, Ngapuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Awa, Te Arawa)
  • Jessica Rose Collins (Ngāti Porou)

Te Ururangi Award for Education – trailblazers making a significant contribution to the development of mātauranga Māori – Māori knowledge:

  • Prof Dr Rangi Mātāmua (Ngāi Tūhoe)
  • Āni Wainui (Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui)
  • Rawiri Wright (Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu)

Te Waipuna-ā-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment – creative professionals leading the way in literature, performing arts, media arts or visual arts:

  • Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua)
  • Chelsea Winstanley (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi)
  • Shane Cotton (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine and Te Uri Taniwha)

Te Tupu-ā-Rangi Award for Health and Science – healthcare and science experts dedicated to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of New Zealanders:

  • Lady Tureiti Moxon (Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu, Kāi Tahu)
  • Dr Lily Fraser (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Māmoe, Waitaha)
  • Dr Matire Harwood (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rangi, Te Mahurehure, Ngāti Hine)

Te Waitā Award for Sport – extraordinary men and women who are excelling in the sporting arena both at home and abroad:

  • Kiwi Campbell (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau A Apanui)
  • Holly Robinson (Ngāi Tahu) 
  • Lindsay Tait (Te Rarawa)

Hiwa i te Rangi Award for Community – showcasing Māori groups and organisations that play a vital role in enhancing the social, economic, cultural and environmental prosperity of their rohe (region):

  • Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae
  • S.O.U.L - Te Hapori o te Ihu o Mataaho
  • VOYCE - Whakarongo Mai

Te Toi o Ngā Rangi - Lifetime Achievement Award – an individual who demonstrates exemplary achievements in his or her field as well as an outstanding commitment to Aotearoa – New Zealand.

Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Award for Business and Innovation – game-changers in their field making an impact and driving our economy and society forward:

  • Blanche Morrogh (Ngāti Kuri and Te Rarawa)
  • Greg Summerton (Rākaihautū, Ngāi Tahu, Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe)
  • Pania Tyson-Nathan (Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou)

Te Waitī Award for Te Reo and Tikanga – individuals championing the revitalisation of the Māori language and culture:

  • Hana O’Regan (Kāti Rakiāmoa, Kāti Ruahikihiki, Kāi Tūāhuriri, Kāti Waewae)
  • Quinton Hita (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua, Taranaki)
  • Hinewehi Mohi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe)

Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki Supreme Award – the overall winner selected from the finalists who demonstrates exemplary achievements in his or her field, as well as an outstanding commitment to Aotearoa – New Zealand.

This year’s event will be the biggest yet, hosted at Auckland’s Spark Arena with more than 500 in attendance. It will be broadcast live on Māori Television from 8:30pm on Saturday August 15 alongside a live Facebook feed.