Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Creative New Zealand announces Pasifika Arts awards recipients

Clockwise from left: Lusi Faiva, Pelenakeke Brown, Michel Tuffery, Tanya Muagututi’a, Moses Mackay, Pati Solomona Tyrell, Tanu Gago and Cora-Allan Wickliffe.

Traditional hiapo making, Pasifika artistic champions, an opera singer and interdisciplinary artists who’ve exhibited and performed around Aotearoa and the world – Creative New Zealand has named a diverse group of talented individuals as the recipients for the 2020 Arts Pasifika Awards.

Announcing the recipients via an online video, each award winner was given the opportunity to give a brief acceptance speech. Of the seven categories, Tāmaki Makaurau artist Tanu Gago received the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award, worth $10,000.

An interdisciplinary artist, award-winning photographer, filmmaker and queer activist, Gago’s work has been exhibited in Paris, Switzerland, London and Toronto and most recently at the Sydney Biennale.

“It is an incredible honour to be the 2020 recipient of the Creative New Zealand Contemporary Pacific Artist Award,” says Gago.

“I would like to acknowledge the mana and pioneering spirit of previous recipients as well as the Creative New Zealand Pacific Arts committee. You play such a pivotal role in the careers of artists and so your time and consideration and commitment to us is extremely appreciated.”

Earlier this year he became a 2020 Arts Foundation Laureate as part of the Queer Indigenous Arts collective, FAFSWAG, for which he is both co-founder and creative director.

Tanu Gago is the recipient of the 2020 Contemporary Pacific Artist Award

Last year, the Pacific Toa award category was announced for the first time. The category supports Pasifika artists with the lived experience of disability, whose work, influence and commitment has raised the standards, expectations and reputation of Pacific arts and artists.

This year the accolade has been awarded to two interdisciplinary artists, Pelenakeke Brown and Lusi Faiva. Both artists are founding members of Touch Compass, a performance company that works with disabled and non-disabled creatives.

As the first disabled artist to lead the company in its 24-year history, Brown is the Touch Compass interim Artistic Director and says she is “really proud to be a disabled Samoan artist”.

“I’m really passionate about supporting other disabled artists, to have agency and create work on their own terms, especially supporting Māori and Pasifika disabled artists.”

Brown has created projects with Movement Research, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Goethe Institute and many other arts organisations and institutions.

Pelenakeke Brown is one of two recipients of the Pacific Toa Artist award

Receiving the Special Recognition Award for her contribution to Pacific arts, Tanya Muagututi’a thanked her parents, siblings, children and her husband Pos Mavaega, “My partner in everything in the arts”.

“I will endeavour to continue to support Pasifika and Māori and young people, artists who are the voice of Aotearoa throught the artis, through creativity.”

As an integral part of award-winning arts company Pacific Underground, Muagututi’a has played an important role in supporting and developing multiple platforms for Pasifika artists to thrive.

She has co-produced shows for Christchurch Arts Festival, Pasifika, Diwali, Lantern and Auckland Arts Festivals. The award-winning producer has also worked on countless theatre productions with Auckland Theatre Company, Māngere Arts Centre, the Court Theatre, Okāreka Dance Company and No.3 Roskill Theatre.

Tanya Muaguguti’a will receive the Special Recognition Award

Other winners include Moses Mackay (Iosefa Enari Memorial Award), Pati Solomona Tyrell (Emerging Pacific Artist Award), Cora-Allen Whitcliffe (Pacific Heritage Artist Award), and  Michel Tuffery who was awarded the Senior Pacific Artist Award.

Arts Council of New Zealand Deputy Chair Caren Rangi says, “It’s a great honour for us to celebrate and recognise the amazing work our Pasifika artists continue to achieve in our communities.”

“The eight award recipients this year are artistic and cultural experts in their fields, and the high calibre of applicants demonstrates the diversity of Pasifika talent here in our country and their valuable contribution to our national identity.”

For the full list of winners, check out the video below:





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