Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Recipients announced for 25th Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards

Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards
Clockwise from top left: Andy Leleisi’uao, Ridge Ponini, Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Tua, Lindah Lepou, Vivian Aue, Tupumaiaga A Niue Trust, Tupe Lualua.

An exciting line-up of Pasifika recipients has been announced for this year’s Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards.

Since its inception in 1996, the awards have recognised Pacific artists from a diverse range of art forms and industries.

This year’s crop of winners range from Niuean heritage arts, contemporary dance and theatre, storytelling, opera and visual arts.

Among the winners is artist Ronnie Tua, a filmmaker and arts accessibility advocate. Tua’s experience with Cerebral Palsy has made him a community leader, establishing the first youth advisory group ‘The Table’ for the 312 Hub.

A talented filmmaker, Tua and his classmate won the  Judge’s Choice Award and a $15,000 prize at the Focus on Ability Short Film Festival in Australia in 2017. 

Tua has been awarded the Pacific Toa Award for his work and service to arts accessibility.

Tupe Lualua, Ronnie Tua and Ridge Ponini
(l-R) Artists Tupe Lualua, Ronnie Tua and Ridge Ponini were among the recipients of the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards

Receiving the Iosefa Inari Memorial Award is Ridge Ponini.

The operatic talents of the 26-year-old Cook Islander was first discovered by his English teacher, Brenda Rudolph. Ponini undertook his classical voice studies at the University of Otago and has performed at many local concerts and Opera Otago productions since.

The singer has been heavily supported by the Cook Islands community and hopes to return home to perform and open doors for other aspiring opera performers.

Artist Tupe Lualua has won the Contemporary Pacific Artist Award.

For years, the renowned choreographer and performer has combined Siva Sāmoa into her creative arts practice, bringing to life Pacific stories on the stage in a unique way.

Through her company Le Moana Arts and the Measina Festival of Contemporary Pacific Dance and Theatre, Lualua has found a way to shine a light on on emerging Pacific artists.

A passionate teacher of movement and culture in various spaces, Lualua has worked with local schools, community groups, international representatives, government organisations and inside the justice system.

There will not be an official live awards event this year due to COVID-19; Creative New Zealand is planning an intimate online event with the Arts Council, award recipients and their families in December.

Read the full line of Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika awards here.

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