Honoured for a lifetime commitment to te reo, tikanga and Māori arts

By Jessica Tyson

Te Toi ō Ngā Rangi Award winner Kuini Moehau Reedy.

Kuini Moehau Reedy is a storehouse of knowledge, a creative composer of music who is maintaining the essence of the unique dialect of her people.  Tonight she was named as the winner of the Te Toi ō Ngā Rangi Award at the Matariki Awards.

The lifetime achievement award honours an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of the nation through their achievements.

Reedy has been a key component of the kōhanga reo movement since its inception and she continues to move kōhanga whānau in te reo Māori and whānau development nationally.

In 2011 the Te Aitanga ā Mate and Ngāti Porou descendant was awarded a MNZM honour for her services to Māori.

Reedy was born in 1941 at Waipiro Bay and educated at Gisborne Cook’s College and Gisborne Girls’ High School.  She has a Certificate in Māori Studies from Waikato University and attended Victoria University and Wellington Teachers’ College where she graduated with a Diploma of Teaching.

She has been described by some as a prolific composer of creative art forms, a writer and performing arts specialist and ultimately, a keeper of Māori folklore who imparts traditional indigenous knowledge through language, culture, and performance.

Her book of waiata for children, Ngā Waiata Ma Ngā Tamariki Nohinohi, sold out in its original print run of 4,000 copies. She has written haka, waiata, poetry and dirges and her main focus is promoting te reo and tikanga Māori.

Past recipients of the award in 2018 include Timoti Karetu, Tākuta Huirangi Waikerepuru, Kahurangi Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, Ahorangi Pou Temara and Ahorangi Wharehuia Milroy. In 2017, Sir Mason Durie was the award winner.