Rawiri Paratene celebrated for outstanding contribution to Ngā Toi Māori

updated By Kelvin McDonald
Credit / Creative NZ

Actor and playwright Rawiri Paratene (Ngā Puhi, Te Rarawa) was the supreme award winner at Saturday evening's online ceremony for the prestigious Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi (Te Waka Toi Awards).

Paratene was awarded Te Tohu Aroha mō Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu in recognition of his leadership, excellence and outstanding contribution to Ngā Toi Māori.

"We are respected all over the world. I'm very grateful that I'm part of that and that I've been a great part of that," Paratene said in a pre-recorded video for the 2021 awards ceremony. 

He said Whale Rider's Keisha Castle-Hughes was "one of the greatest, greatest actors that I've worked with." 

"I think about the young people, the young Māori and Pasifika people. The world is our oyster." 

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

Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead (Ngāi Te Rangi), a composer, and Dr Haare Williams (Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki and Tūhoe), a teacher, poet, artist and broadcaster, were both celebrated with Ngā Tohu ā Tā Kingi Ihaka for their lifetime contribution to Ngā Toi Māori and strengthening Māori culture. 

"Sometimes you hear an audience as a whole go very quiet and that quiet stays for the rest of the piece. Then you know you've written a reasonably good piece," Dame Gillian said in her video.

"Be curious, don't have set ideas. Explore that, explore that. Take opportunities when they come," she shared as words of wisdom. 

Dr Haare Williams said, "I evolved a love of art, a love of language, a love of oratory, a love of the narrative, the stories that were told to me by my grandmother. And the Bible still became the formative part of my development in the language." 

A lifelong teacher, he had a word of encouragement for the young. 

"I want to exhort to our young people, to tell our young people, don't give up. Just persevere. When you set a task, make sure you take it through," Dr Williams said.

Other award recipients

In total 14 Māori artists were celebrated at the awards. The others recognised include traditional Māori arts expert the late Hokimoana Te Rika-Hekerangi (Tūhoe), as well kapa haka experts Tangiwai Ria (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki) and Trevor Maxwell (Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa), plus singer Dame Hinewehi Mohi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūhoe).

Ngā Tohu Hautūtanga Auaha Toi | Making a Difference Award

Recognises leadership and outstanding contribution to the development of new directions in Ngā Toi Māori.

Kereti Rautangata (Tainui, Te Arawa) – Master Carver, Traditional martial arts exponent.

John Miller (Ngaitewake-ki-uta, Uritaniwha, Ngāti Rēhia (hapū of Ngāpuhi)) – Photographer

Dolina Wehipeihana (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tukorehe) – Dancer, Choreographer, Theatre Producer

Ngā Manu Pīrere | Emerging Māori artist Award

Recognises an emerging artist or collective showing potential in their artform.

Maia Keane (Ngai Tāmanuhiri, Rongowhakaata) – Visual arts

Te Haana Paewai (Rangitāne, Ngāruahine) – Visual arts

Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana (Ngāti Hikairo, Tainui, Tūhoe, Ngāti Whakaue) – Actor, Playwright

Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa Award

Recognises the contribution of a Māori artist with the lived experience of disability to the standing, and standard of Māori arts in New Zealand and/or internationally.

Cara Waretini (Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Pākehā) – Costume Design Artist

Te Tohu o Te Papa Tongarewa Rongomaraeroa Award

Recognising outstanding contribution to ngā toi Māori. Award supported and selected by Te Papa Tongarewa.

Hokimoana Te Rika-Hekerangi (Tūhoe) – traditional Māori arts knowledge holder, Curator, Archivist, Researcher

Moi mai rā, e kui e

Te Tohu Whakamanawa o Te Matatini

Recognises an outstanding contribution to Kapa Haka. Supported and selected by Te Matatini Society Inc.

Tangiwai Ria (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki)

Trevor Maxwell (Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Arawa) 

Te Tohu Aroha mō Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi: ‘Whakarongo, Titiro, Kōrero’

Recognises the recipient’s outstanding work strengthening Te Reo Rangatira. Supported and selected by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, The Māori Language Commission.

Dame Hinewehi Mohi (Ngāti Kahungunu, Tūhoe) – Singer, Songwriter, Music Producer.