Two of Maoridom's top performing arts exponents have been honoured for their long-time dedication, innovation, and leadership.
Whakatane-based Maori tertiary institution Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi organised the first national symposium celebrating haka excellence in early November at Rotorua.
Programme co-ordinator for the Awanuiarangi bachelor of Maori performing arts, Rob Ruha, says Whanganui River kaumatua Morvin Simon, along with another prominent figure in the arts, Dr Ngapo Wehi of Ngai Tuhoe and Te Whakatohea, were acknowledged for their outstanding involvement in kapa haka.
Both men have made a significant contribution to their work and were presented with honorary bachelor degrees in Maori performing arts.
Mr Ruha says they epitomise haka excellence and cultural stewardship.
He says the presentation ceremony was a very very moving experience with both of the men's families and kapa haka groups there to support them.
Mr Ruha says this follows on from the same acknowledgment Dr Pita Sharples received last year for his tireless committment to Maori arts.