Wetini Mitai-Ngātai is a man of many talents and here in Aotearoa he is well-known for leading one of Te Arawa’s high profile kapa haka groups, Te Mātārae i Ōrehu.
His expertise was recognised this week at the Westpac New Zealand Arts Awards.
Mr Mitai-Ngatai was one of five New Zealanders to receive the Arts Laureate Award for excellence across a range of art forms,
According to Executive Director of Te Tumu Toi, Simon Bowden, “Laureates are artists whose careers are in full flight, who have substantial achievements but also have an exciting future ahead of them.”
Mitai-Ngatai says the award came as a surprise but was humbled by the acknowledgement, “I’m just happy to be able to show the world that a Māori can excel in anything, in the arts, in business and everything.”
His artistic abilities contributed to the establishment of the Mitai Village in 2002 and have also allowed him to explore new ventures which include the 'Snooze Cube', a temporary accommodation pod situated at Dubai Airport.
“Wetini Mitai-Ngatai of course a fabulous kapa haka exponent, extraordinary collaborator, high achiever and very well-known in those worlds” says Simon Bowden.
Each recipient receives $50,000 in recognition of their achievement and Mitai-Ngatai says that money will go towards his two business'.
Wepiha Te Kanawa will have more tonight at 5:30pm