Skip to main content

25th annual Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards recognise excellence and innovation

News: 15 November 2021

Creative New Zealand media release.

Seven Pacific award recipients have been recognised for their excellence, innovation and contribution to Pacific arts in the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards 2021 announced today.

The awards have been offered annually for the past 25 years, since 1996, and are the only national awards for Pasifika artists across all artforms. They range from contemporary to heritage arts, and across a range of stages in the artists’ careers - from emerging to established.   

Recipients clockwise from top left: Andy Leleisi’uao, Ridge Ponini, Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Tua, Lindah Lepou, Vivian Aue, Tupumaiaga A Niue Trust, Tupe Lualua. Image courtesy of Creative NZ.

“We are excited and delighted to recognise Pasifika artists embracing rich and diverse talents to deliver exceptional Pacific arts in Aotearoa,” says Arts Council Chair Caren Rangi.  

“Pacific arts are a cultural touchstone for the whakapapa and whanaungatanga between Aotearoa and Moana Nui a Kiva. The 2021 award recipients are making an invaluable contribution to our nation’s identity. 

“Over the past 25 years the Arts Pasifika Awards have grown, with increased investment and the addition of the Pacific Toa Award, recognising the excellence of those with the lived experience of disability within the community. ” 

Introduced in 2019, the Pacific Toa Award is one of many significant new opportunities and initiatives created under the Pacific Arts Strategy 2018 – 2023. 

This year’s recipients work across a range of Pacific artforms, including visual art, Niuean heritage arts, contemporary dance and theatre, performance, opera and storytelling.  

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.   

The 2021 Arts Pasifika Award recipients are: 

Senior Pacific Artist Award ($25,000)

 – recognises the contribution of a senior established Pacific artist in maintaining or developing their artform in New Zealand. 

Andy Leleisi’uao

Pacific Heritage Art Award ($10,000)

– recognises an artist or group who has made a major contribution to maintaining, reviving or promoting a Pacific heritage artform in New Zealand. This may include language, dance, traditional music, weaving or tatau. 

Tupumaiaga A Niue Trust

Contemporary Pacific Artist Award ($10,000) 

– recognises an artist who has demonstrated innovation within their artform. Artists must have a track record and have achieved in their chosen field. Recognition will be given to those who work in a unique artform, or those who continually push the boundaries of their practice. 

Tupe Lualua

Special Recognition Award ($10,000) 

– recognises the recipient’s special contribution to the standing, and standard, of Pacific Arts in New Zealand and/or internationally.  

Lindah Lepou

Pacific Toa Art Award ($10,000) 

– recognises the contribution of a Pasifika artist with lived experience of disability to the standing, and standard, of Pacific arts nationally or globally. The award recognises an individual whose work, influence and commitment has raised the standards, expectations and reputation of Pacific arts and artists. It may be awarded to any art form or for arts management. It could be for an ongoing contribution to a local, national or global success story. 

Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Tua

Emerging Pacific Artist Award ($7,500) 

– recognises an emerging artist showing promise and potential in their chosen artform. The purpose of this award is to recognise achievement at this developmental stage ensuring that the artist will develop their career in their chosen field. 

Vivian Aue

Iosefa Enari Memorial Award ($7,500) 

– recognises the contribution of the late Iosefa Enari to the arts, in particular his pioneering role in Pacific opera. This award supports the career development of an individual Pacific singer, musician or composer across all classical genres and career stages. 

Ridge Ponini

There is a list of previous award winners (since 2002) on the Creative New Zealand website 

Updated on 29th November 2021