Kiingi Tūheitia launches portraiture competition for emerging Māori artists

By Jessica Tyson
Te Arikinui Kiingi Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero Tuawhitu / Photo by Erica Sinclair

The office of the Kiingitanga and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata have launched the Kiingi Tūheitia Portraiture Award to inspire emerging Māori artists to create portraits of their tūpuna (ancestors).

Launched today in honour of Kiingi Tūheitia, the award provides artists with an opportunity to showcase their talent on a national stage while competing for a first prize of $20,000. The runner-up and people's choice award will win $2,500.

Kiingi Tuheitia, the seventh Māori monarch, says he is honoured to officially launch the award.

“This competition and award are about celebrating emerging Māori artists and giving them a chance to shine. ‘Taaparatia te maahina, he puurangi, he maaneanea.’ You can find more information about this online. I wish to thank the Te Puukenga Whakaata, its board and staff for working with us to bring this initiative to life. Kua takoto te maanuka, kia kaha koutou!"

New Zealand Portrait Gallery director Jaenine Parkinson says the award will play an important part in encouraging and profiling Māori artists working in a wide range of visual media who are in the early stages of their career.

"The award also creates a platform for showcasing and celebrating tūpuna and their stories and this award aims to uplift the mana of those artists who create these taonga and the important mahi they do,” Parkinson says.

Entries are open to emerging Māori artists who have created an artwork within the past two years using any visual medium depicting their tūpuna.

“Because this award does not limit artists to a specific medium we are excited to see the creative innovations emerging Māori artists will bring to articulating their whakapapa (genealogy),” Parkinson says.

The judges

The finalist artworks will be judged by a distinguished panel composing of leading artists at the opening of the exhibition.

These include tā moko and whakairo artist, kapa haka performer, composer, graphic designer, researcher and teacher Professor Sir Derek Te Ahi Lardelli; artist, teacher and activist Kura Te Waru Rewiri; and artist Lisa Reihana, who is known around the world for her portraits and digital art.

Te Runanganui o Te Atiawa and Waiwhetu Marae chair Kura Moreahu supports the Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award announcement.

“Both the runanga and Waiwhetu Marae have a long association with both the Kiingitanga and Te Arikinui Kiingi Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero Tuawhitu.”

Entries open on October 5, 2020, and close on March 5, 2021. The award will be held in 2021 with an exhibition of finalist artworks in Te Whanganui-a-Tara at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, timed to coincide with Matariki. Finalist artworks will then tour the country.

For more information click here.