ARTS - WITH all of the commit-ments he has signed on for, it is a wonder Kingi Pitiroi ever finds the time to make art.
A graduate student at EIT’s Gisborne school of Maori arts (Toihoukura), Pitiroi exhibits work around the country, in June travelled to the Solomon Islands for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, and he regularly commutes between Gisborne, Rotorua and his hometown of Taupo to tutor kapa haka groups.
Last weekend, however, he was in Wellington to accept the $4000 scholarship that will help support him during his post-graduate Studio year of study.
A practitioner of ta moko, three-dimensional work and paintings, Pitiroi (Ngati Tuwharetoa) was one of two winners of the Nga Karahipi a Te Waka Toi scholarships presented at Saturday’s Te Waka Toi Awards for excellence in the Maori arts.
The other was Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti (Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Kai Tahu, Rangitane), a painter in her first year of study towards a Master of Maori Visual Arts at Massey University’s Te Putahi-a-Toi.
The annual Te Waka Toi Awards recognise achievement in oratory, literature, music, performance, and the object and visual arts.
On the night the supreme award — Te Tohu Aroha mo Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu — was presented to inaugural Maori Language Commissioner, Timoti Karetu QSO (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngai Tuhoe), for his contribution to the Maori language.
The Nga Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka awards
for lifetimes of service to the arts went to Esther Kerr Jessop QSM, MSR, BA (Ngai Tai); Mita Mohi MBE (Ngati Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa); Hohipera Williams (Te Whakatohea); Manuera Tohu QSM (Ngati Kahu); and Maruhaeremuri Stirling (Ngati Porou, Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Kauwhata, Ngai Tahu).
Professor Pou Temara (Ngai Tuhoe) was recognised with the award for strengthening the Maori language (Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi); and the gong for
making a difference to the arts (Te Tohu Toi Ke) was presented to Tama Huata ONZM (Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou).
“Celebrating those who tirelessly promote and preserve Maori arts is a great honour for Te Waka Toi,” Darrin Haimona — chair of the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand — said at the weekend’s awards ceremony.
“Through their generosity and talent they have enriched communities and lives, and invested in a rich future for Maori arts.”