A son of Samoa has been honoured with one of New Zealand’s most prestigious Arts award.
Maualaivao Albert Wendt has won the Icon Award 2018, as recognition for his significant contribution to the arts and to the lives of New Zealanders.
He was among five recipients of the award for this year.
Maualaivao received his award from the Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy during a prestigious ceremony at Government House, Wellington.
Arts Foundation Chair, Garth Gallaway, said "There are some artists who have a profound impact on the nation. The Icon Awards celebrates the achievements of those artists so that all New Zealanders can acknowledge our living greats and to learn more about their work and contributions".
The 2018 recipients were selected by Arts Foundation Trustees and Governors.
The recipients join a living circle of twenty artists celebrated as Icons and receive a medallion and pin designed by stone sculptor, John Edgar. The artist has the pin forever, while the medallion is presented to a successor at a future ceremony.
In a moving part of the ceremony, the medallions of Sir Ian Athfield (architect), Jack Body (composer), Marti Friedlander (photographer), Peter Godfrey (musician) and Dr Cliff Whiting (artist, heritage, advocate, teacher) were presented to the 2018 recipients by a family member representing the previous holder of the medallion.
Thirty-eight Icons have been honoured with the award. Previously awarded recipients include Janet Frame, Margaret Mahy, Ralph Hotere and Sir Peter Jackson.
Maualaivao has been writing and publishing since the early 1960s and is recognised internationally as one of New Zealand’s, Samoa’s, and the Pacific’s major novelists, poets, and intellectuals.
Over the past forty years, his writing, his teaching and research have helped change how Samoa, the Pacific, and New Zealand are perceived.
Other Icon award winners were: Billy Apple ONZM – Visual artist, Fred Graham ONZM – Carver & Sculptor, Bill Manhire CNZM – Poet & Writer and Dame Gillian Karawe Whitehead DNZM – Composer.
About the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Icon Awards
The Icon Awards are the Arts Foundation's most prestigious awards, created to honour New Zealand’s greatest artists during their lifetime.
Limited to a living circle of twenty recipients, these artists have all made a significant contribution to New Zealand and to their art form.
Former Arts Foundation Trustee, Sir Hugh Kawharu, gifted the words ‘whakamana i te hiranga’ to describe the Icon Awards. The words can be interpreted as ‘to give honour at an occasion of great significance.’ Sir Hugh said that each Icon recipient shares his or her mana with fellow Icons through reciprocity, each Icon’s mana being enhanced through association with the group.