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Winners announced at the Waikato River Art Awards 2014

Winners of an inaugural arts competition aimed at positively promoting the Waikato River and its importance to both iwi and community, were announced at a special awards ceremony on Wednesday 11th June 2014 .

Sponsored by Waikato-Tainui and McCaw Lewis, with the support of Waikato Society of Arts and Te Awa, 24 finalists were selected for the Waikato River Art Awards 2014.  Artists were encouraged to produce art work that conceptualised the beauty of the river, either as it is now or as it could be in the future.

WSA are delighted to have been a supporter of this event and proud to say ten of the works exhibited have connections to the WSA. They are

WSA members: Sue Roots, Darren Wise, Anne Carter Jones, Deborah Forket, Michelle Colson, Alvin Xiong, Sam Timmings.

WSA Artschool Student: Alisha Smart

Previous member: Margaret Stirling

The Overall winner was Auckland artist, Denise Batchelor for her moving image work Flow like the River shown here with the awards organizing committee.

Unfortunately Denise Batchelor was not able to be present at the awards.

The judges were impressed by the standard and variety of work.

The competitions theme - Tooku Awa Koiora: The River of Life, Each Curve More Beautiful than the Last - is derived from a maimai aroha (lament) shared by Taawhiao, the second Maaori King and also forms part of the vision and strategy to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.

“We are very pleased to partner with McCaw Lewis to support this arts initiative,” said Taipu Paki, Implementation Manager at the Waikato Raupatu River Trust. “This is a fantastic opportunity to focus on the Waikato River through the imagination and aspirations of our artistic communities.”

The Waikato-Tainui award went to Darren Wise for his stainless steel art work entitled He Piko He Taniwha.

Tauranga-based artist James Ormsby, who along with renowned carver Fred Graham and arts advocate Barbara Moke selected the winners, said he was humbled to be part of the judging panel and appreciated the diversity of the entries.

“The messages in the work are challenging, confronting and honest. It was as if we were experiencing an ordering of our imaginative order. To see that process coming through the work that was submitted is very encouraging.”

Casey Carsel’s digital painting Ocean Tile Triptych won the Youth award. 

A total prize package worth over $5,000 was distributed to the winners and includes a hoe nukenuke by Waikato carver Warren McGrath. An exhibition of all the selected works submitted are on display at Te Awa and gives the public a chance to view the winners as well as select a winner for the People’s Choice Award.

The exhibition is open to the public in the Atrium at the northern end of Te Awa (The Base) until 25 June 2014. It is free and open to the public. For more information visit www.wrrt.co.nz/latest-news  or http://mccawlewis.co.nz/articles/news/ or like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/wraa2014.

Opening Event

WSA members Gay and Don Shirley (WSA Executive / McCaw Lewis) with Michelle Colson.

Fog on the River by WSA member Anne Carter Jones.

Alvin Xiong, WSA member and finalist, enjoys the event with friend Phillip Tse.

Youth award category (left) River of Life by WSA Artschool student Alisha Smart and (right) The River by Sam Timmings, WSA member.


Winner of the Tainui Award He Piko He Taniwha by Darren Wise, WSA member.

WSA member Alvin Xiong's work Dancing in the Darkness.

Sentiment / Sediment by WSA manager Michelle Colson.

A new art award for the Waikato - Waikato River Art Awards

The purpose of the competition is to provide an avenue whereby the Waikato River is positively promoted to our community, given the importance of the river to our iwi and rohe (region) as a whole. 

The theme of the competition is Tooku Awa Koiora: The River of Life, Each Curve More Beautiful than the Last.  The idea was to encourage artists to produce art work that conceptualises the beauty of the river, either as it is now or as it could be in the future.

The price package is worth over $4,000 with four different categories of winners. The overall winner will also be presented with a beautiful hoe nukenuke carved by Warren McGrath.

The exhibition will display art work from an array of artists, up-and-coming and established, young and old. The judges panel which will select the winners consists of James Ormsby, Fred Graham and Barbara Moke, all of whom have prestigious backgrounds in the art world. The judges will each display one of their own Waikato River art works as well.

The exhibition will be held in the Atrium at the northern end of Te Awa (The Base) from 11 to 25 June 2014.  It is free and open to the public and all visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite art work.  The winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced following completion of the exhibition.