Pacific artists celebrated at Creative NZ's Awards

Updated at 11:05 am on 15 November 2012

The strength of Pacific art and its contribution to New Zealand's culture was celebrated at Creative New Zealand's Arts Pasifika Awards in Wellington last night.

The founder of the Mau dance and theatre company, Lemi Ponifasi, won the award for senior Pacific artist.

The contemporary artist award went to the Otara-based curator Ema Tavola.

The chair of Creative New Zealand's Pacific arts committee, Pele Walker, says there's an increasing sophistication and confidence in Pacific arts and music, and the awards reflect that.

The Pacific heritage award went to Mary Ama, an expert in tivaevae - the Cook Islands art of quilt-making - while dancer Justin Haiu won the emerging artist award.

The Iosefa Enari memorial award for classical music went to the young soprano Isabella Moore.

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