Māori excellence celebrated at 2019 Matariki Awards

By Jessica Tyson

Winners of the 2019 Matariki Awards were celebrated at the fourth annual ceremony honouring Māori excellence last night in Auckland.

There were 10 winners across 11 categories recognised for their outstanding achievement and contributions to Te Ao Māori.

The prestigious Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki / Supreme Award was awarded to Whale Watch in Kaikōura for their contributions to New Zealand’s tourism industry, making the region one of the country’s leading eco-tourism destinations despite the havoc cause by the Christchurch earthquakes.

Whale Watch has stimulated investment in new accommodation, restaurants and an impressive array of cafes and galleries filled with the work of local artists. They were also presented with Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Award for Business and Innovation for their achievements.

Kaimahi of Kaikoura Whale Watch. Source: Te Ao

This year’s recipient of Te Toi ō Ngā Rangi Award / Lifetime Achievement Award is Kuini Moehau Reedy for her outstanding contributions to music, kapa haka and te reo Māori.

A prolific composer, writer and storyteller, Kuini has dedicated her life to imparting traditional indigenous knowledge through language, culture and performance.

She has been Manu Kura Te Kuratini at Wellington Polytechnic, part-time lecturer in social work at Victoria University and an announcer on Te Upoko-o-Te Ika radio station. She is a composer and performing arts specialist and is working on a book on waiata.

Kuini Moehau Reedy. Source: File

Songwriter Dennis Marsh was awarded the Te Mata o te Ariki Award / Special Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to music.

As a multi-award-winning country singer, Dennis has released 29 albums – including two No. 1s on the New Zealand albums chart, four gold albums and six platinum albums – throughout his three-decade-long career.

Dennis Marsh. Source: Te Ao

Film producer and co-founder of Miss Conception Films Ainsley Gardiner was recognised for her contributions to Aotearoa’s film industry with Te Waipuna-ā-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment.

A massive proponent for growth in gender diversity in the film industry, Ainsley had a hand in a number of Kiwi classics including Two Cars, One Night – the first of several films she made with Taika Waititi – Tama Tū, Mokopuna, Eagle vs Shark, Boy, The Pā Boys, Waru and most recently The Breaker Upperers.

Ainsley Gardiner. Source: File

Financial literacy is an important education piece that is lacking for many rangatahi across Aotearoa. But this year’s Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers winner Kendall Flutey knows this and founded the digital platform Banqer in 2015.

The platform helps primary and intermediate students explore income, expenses and budgeting, introducing them to things like saving, interest, KiwiSaver, tax, real estate, and insurance in a fun, interactive way. Since launching, Banqer has been used by over 70,000 kids across Australiasia.

Kendall Flutey. Source: File

The Hiwa i te Rangi Award for Community was presented to Smear Your Mea – a campaign to raise awareness of cervical cancer and encourage women to have a smear test.

Smear Your Mea was launched by kapa haka personality Talei Morrison out of frustration at not finding educational material that connected with her as a Māori woman after being diagnosed with stage 4 cervical cancer. Talei passed away in June 2018 but the campaign continues to raise awareness for wahine in Aotearoa.

Smea Your Mea. Source: File

Dist. Professor Hingangaroa Smith was acknowledged with Te Ururangi Award for Education for his contributions to the tertiary education sector.

A prominent Māori educationalist and advocate who has been at the forefront of alternative Māori initiatives in the education field and beyond, he is currently the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori at Massey University.

Dist. Professor Hingangaroa Smith. Source: File

Lincoln University senior lecturer Dr Amanda Black is an expert in environmental soil and water chemistry. She recently moved her research focus to ecosystem resilience in soils investigating disease resistant traits in Kauri forests.

She was awarded Te Tupu-a-Rangi Award for Health and Science for her work to help combat kauri dieback, which threatens not just the trees but the entire ecosystem around them.

Dr Amanda Black. Source: File

A former Silver Fern in the 90s, Pānia Papa has since dedicated her life to the revitalisation of te reo Māori. As director of Takatū Associates Limited, Pānia and her team are focusing on innovations in Māori language education and broadcasting.

For her work in this space, she received Te Waitī Award for Te Reo and Tikanga at this year’s Māori Television Matariki Awards.

Pānia Papa on Ōpaki. Source: File

This year’s Te Waita Award for Sport recipient is Noeline Taurua for her outstanding work as the coach of the Silver Ferns. Her outside-the-box style is what is needed to revive the team, and Taurua is determined to lead the team to victory at the 2019 World Cup.

Noeline Taurua. Source: File

Māori Television Chief Executive, Shane Taurima says it’s humbling to see all the Māori achievement and success happening in various sectors across Aotearoa – something that needs to be recognised and celebrated.

“One of our missions as a broadcaster is to revitalise te reo in Aotearoa, so it’s promising to see the calibre of tāngata whenua making strides in their chosen fields and forging a world we can be proud of, he says.

“From business entrepreneurs and educators through to musicians, scientists and community groups, we’ve all got a responsibility to represent Te Ao Māori and instill a sense of honour in our people.”

The ceremony was hosted by Stacey Morrison and Matai Smith. It featured live performances from Tama Waipara, Seth Haapu, Annie Crummer, Louis Baker,   Pere, Makaira, Mere, The Koi Boys, Ardijah and Dennis Marsh.

Full list - Matariki Awards Winners 2019

Te Waipuna-ā-Rangi Award for Arts and Entertainment
• Winner: Ainsley Gardiner
• Troy Kingi
• Shona Tawhiao

Te Waita Award for Sport
• Winner: Noeline Taurua
• Joelle King
• Shannon McIlroy

Te Whetū Maiangi Award for Young Achievers
• Winner: Kendall Flutey
• Te Kehukehu Butler
• Gabrielle Wainohu

Te Tupu-ā-Nuku Award for Business & Innovation
• Winner: Whale Watch Kaikōura
• Moana NZ
• Tipene Funerals

Te Tupu-ā-Rangi Award for Health & Science
• Winner: Dr Amanda Black
• Keri Opai
• Talei Morrison

Te Ururangi Award for Education
• Winner: Distinguished Professor Hingangaroa Smith
• Evelyn Tobin
• Dr Kathie Irwin

Te Waiti Award for Te Reo & Tikanga
• Winner: Pānia Papa
• Anton Matthews (Fush)
• Kupu Application (Spark)

Hiwa i te Rangi Award for Community
• Winner: Smear Your Mea
• Kai Matariki Trust
• Tukau Legacy

Te Toi Ō Ngā Rangi – Lifetime Achievement Award
• Kuini Moehau Reedy

Te Tohu Tiketike o Matariki Supreme Award
• Whale Watch Kaikōura

Te Mata o te Ariki Award – Special Recognition Award
• Dennis Marsh