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Arts will weave humanity

Media Releases - 3rd July 2018 Te Hā
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Submissions are now open for the annual Te Hā Art Awards with organisers announcing a new theme, 
a new award category and a $8,500 prize pool.

Entries close -
Thursday 27th September.

Awards and exhibition opening - 
Friday 5 October.

This year, Awards organisers have taken inspiration from the karakia ‘Te Tangi a te Mātūī’ (The Cry of the Mātūī), inviting artists to explore the theme Tuia te muka tangata – weaving together the threads of humanity.

The Tuia prayer, as it is commonly known, refers to the intangible bonds established between people when they listen, unite and work together as one – a theme Tairāwhiti Museum Director Eloise Wallace hopes will provide a poignant, provocative and positive launch to the 2018 commemorations programme.

“In many respects the theme gets right to the heart of what it is to be of this place – the strength to be found in recognising our history, sharing our stories, respecting our differences and navigating a shared future.

“Our histories are woven into the social fabric and physical landscape of Te Tairāwhiti. We encourage artists to explore what connects us, binds us, cements us as people,” she says.

‘Te Tangi a te Mātūī’

Kia whakarongo ake au
Ki te tangi a te manu nei

I listen
Ki te tangi a te manu nei To the cry of the bird
A te Mātūī The Mātūī
“Tūī, tūī, tuituia” Calling “tūī, tūī, tuituia”
Tuia i runga That it be woven above
Tuia i raro As it is below
Tuia i waho Woven without
Tuia i roto As it is within
Tuia i te here tāngata Interwoven with the threads of humanity
Ka rongo te pō Felt in innocence
Ka rongo te ao And in consciousness
Tuia i te muka tāngata Intertwined with the threads of humankind
I takea mai i Hawaiki-Nui Born from Great-Hawaiki
I Hawaiki-Roa, i Hawaiki-Pāmamao From Far-Hawaiki, from Long-Distant-Hawaiki
Oti rā me ērā atu anō Hawaiki And hence all other Hawaiki
Te hono a wairua The merging of spirits
Whakaputa ki Te Whaiao Out in to the World of Light
Ki Te Ao Mārama Life, knowledge, and illumination
Tihe mauri ora! Sneeze oh living spirit, dynamic life-force, life-principle!


A new category has also been introduced encouraging youth participation. Te Hā Youth Art Award has been specifically designed for those aged between 13 and 18. The award is distinct from Te Hā Children’s Art Award, which is open for those up to 12 years. [Insert name] says improving space for youth dialogue and interaction is an important move for the Awards.

“Art provides a springboard for the exploration of challenging subjects and often the most interesting insights come from our rangatahi who are genuinely interested in engaging in our ‘big’ community conversations but often don’t have a way in.

“We can’t wait to see how the youngest members of our community respond to the theme,” she says.

But Te Hā Arts Award is not the sole domain of youth. There are four categories for artists:

  • Te Hā Open Art Award which is open to all ages with a prize of $5,000 sponsored by Pultron Composites.
  • Te Hā Children’s Art Award with a prize of $500 also sponsored by Pultron Composites.
  • Te Hā Youth Art Award 2018 with a $1,000 prize.
  • Te Hā People’s Choice Award with a $2,000 prize, sponsored by Dr Jack C Richards.

Download the entry form PDF here.

Entries close Thursday 27th September.
Information and entry forms are available at Tairāwhiti Museum or online via both the museum and Te Hā websites.
The Awards will be presented at the exhibition opening on Friday 5 October at Tairāwhiti Museum, the People’s Choice Award will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

Submissions do not have to be limited to two-dimensional works but can include media such as sculpture and quilting. Up to two works completed in the past 12 months can be submitted. Work must not exceed 1.5 metres, including frame. 

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