10 Dec 2012

Leading composer honoured

8:06 pm on 10 December 2012

One of Maoridom's leading composers of waiata and haka says he is honoured to be acknowledged for his 30 years of work in developing contemporary Maori performing arts.

Morvin Simon of Kaiwhaiki marae along the Whanganui river was given an honorary bachelors degree in Maori performing arts from Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in November.

He was one of two recipients along with another kapa haka stalwart - Dr Ngapo Bub Wehi of Ngai Tuhoe.

Mr Simon says he is humbled to receive the degree alongside Dr Wehi at the recent Kapa Haka symposium - because it highlights the importance of kapa haka as part of Maori culture.

He says they both started out some 30 years ago; Dr Wehi was based in Auckland, while he was based in Whanganui both taking workshops over those years influencing and motivating young people in Maori performing arts.

Mr Simon, 68, has composed hundreds of songs mostly for special occasions such as honouring the Maori kingitanga coronations.

He wrote his first song as a 14-year old school boy at Hato Paora College and plays the piano, the guitar, the trumpet and has been a choirmaster for the National Maori Choir.

He and his wife Kura Simon co-ordinate Te Taikura o te Awa Tipua - the senior kapa haka group for people over the age of 55.