Wetini Mitai-Ngatai to invest $50,000 award into his businesses

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Te Arawa leader Wetini Mitai-Ngātai is better known in the world for his involvement with Te Mātārae I Ōrehu. Today he is one of five New Zealanders to receive the Laureate Award for excellence across a range of art forms.

According to Executive Director of Te Tumu Toi, Simon Bowden, “Wetini got a phone call from me, took me a while to get a hold of him actually, he probably thought I was some kind of adoring fan or some prank call and finally after a while he answered the phone and got a bit of a surprise when I told him The Arts Foundation wanted to support his career by giving him $50,000."

Wetini’s artistic abilities contributed to the establishment of the Mitai Village in 2002 and have also allowed him to explore new ventures which include the “Snooze Cube,” a temporary accommodation pod situated at airports in Dubai.

“More Māori need to do the same as me and take advantage of these funds,” said Wetini.

He says the $50,000 will go towards his two businesses.

You can read more on Wetini's success here.