Judges in awe of youngsters’ talent

Miharo program development manager Tania Carran holds this year's winning Miharo Art Awards and Exhibition T-shirt design by Te Wharekura o Arowhenua high school pupil Kiriwai Komene in front of Tangaroa, created by Just Four Kids home-based childcare.

THE highest compliment an artist can achieve is when people ask to buy their work.

Miharo programme development manager Tania Carran was surprised by the amount of people who asked that question during this year’s Miharo Art Awards and Exhibition.

“It was a real acknowledgement of the pupils’ work as artists.”

Into its eighth year, the annual exhibition attracted a couple of hundred entries from early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, of which some were collaborative pieces, some created by individuals and some by schools which had worked together.

She described this year’s entries, which covered sections from Maori culture and heritage, innovation and whanaungatanga [kinship] to the various personal choice awards and the supreme award, as being of “an amazing standard”.

“Both judges, [artist Ari Edgecombe, of Nelson, and Maori carver and artist (whakairo) Steve Solomon, of Queenstown], were overwhelmed by the quality,” she said.

She had also been overwhelmed by the support of the awards, she said.

“It goes to show we have very creative children [and young people] here in Southland… and some very dedicated teachers.”

Aurora College pupil Shaun Reid won the Supreme Award in the secondary section.

The judges said his work, Ika o Tangaroa, of two fish, one smaller than the other, connected by string, showed “fantastic attention to detail, combination of techniques and materials and a beautiful reference to family and connection”.

Te Wharekura o Arowhenua high school pupil Kiriwai Komene’s hammerhead shark design won the T-shirt section.

Carran said there were 400 entries, from children and young people of all ages, in the section.

Miharo patron and judge Johnny Penisula “felt the design was complete and a real showstopper… which reflected the [award’s] theme and the whakatauki [the wisdom guiding the Maori culture] really well and represented thriving in a picture”.

The 13-year-old Kiriwai was inspired by the award’s theme or ancestor of the sea and all things which lived in it) and his design would be used on Miharo Murihiku Polyfest T-shirts later this month.

Carran said the judges had also been “awed by the early childhood entry” Tangaroa, which they awarded Judge’s Choice Award in the early childhood section.

“A pack had been sent out to every whanau [in the home-based childcare group] and they put it together.”

The judges described the mural as “an outstanding outreach project connecting tamariki [children] across Murihiku [Southland]”.

They “loved the design and creativity of this big, bold and beautiful work”.

Looking to the future, Carran said: “Although we have a huge support from the community, in particular, early learning centres, we would really like to promote having more high schools and primary schools engage in the awards.”

  • Miharo Art Awards and Exhibition, Miharo, 28 Don St, Invercargill, Saturdays, 10am-2pm, Tuesday to Friday, 10am-4.30pm until Tuesday, August 31.

Miharo art awards
Maori Culture and Heritage Award
Early childhood: Winton Kindergarten
Primary: Winton School
Secondary: Manawa Anderson — Aurora College, Invercargill

Pacific Culture and Heritage Award
Early childhood: Neamani Sateki, Veisinia Sateki, Bethany Catto
Primary: New River Primary School, Invercargill
Secondary: Sakaria Peseta, Caleb Peseta, Richie Kuresa — Southland Boys’ High School,

Kaitiaki Award
Early childhood: Weka Preschool
Primary: Wallacetown School
Secondary: Aurora Metzger — Verdon College, Invercargill

Innovation Award
Early childhood: Rockdale Park Kindergarten, Invercargill
Primary: St Theresa’s Primary School, Invercargill
Secondary: Aurora College, Invercargill

Whanaungatanga Award
Early childhood:
Southern Institute of Technology Early Childhood Centre, Invercargill
Secondary: Waiau Rivercare Group Inc, Southland

Aspiring Artist Award
Early childhood: Nirimba Talakai — Rockdale Park Kindergarten, Invercargill
Primary: Mackenzie Vaughan — Limehills School
Secondary: Shyana Pennicott — Aurora College, Invercargill

Judge’s Choice Award:
Early childhood: Just Four Kids

Miharo’s Choice Award
Secondary: Tylah Cook

Miharo Supreme Award
Early childhood: Lindisfarne Kindergarten, Invercargill
Primary: Mackenzie Vaughan — Limehills School
Secondary: Shaun Reid — Aurora College, Invercargill

T-Shirt winner: Kiriwai Komene — Te Wharekura o Arowhenua, Invercargill