Highly Commended certificates presented
Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2018, presented in Parliament by Arts Access Aotearoa, celebrated the award recipients and also the individuals, groups and organisations who received Highly Commended certificates in several of the award categories.
All photos: Vanessa Rushton Photography
Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Space Award 2018
Highly Commended: Touch Compass, Auckland
For 21 years, Touch Compass has been challenging people’s ideas of what dance is and who can do it. Described as New Zealand’s “only professional inclusive dance company”, it is made up of disabled and non-disabled dancers “dancing towards an accessible society in which the creative talents of all members can be fully realised”.
Back in 1997, however, there were few chances for disabled people to participate in dance and movement. Since then, the company has fostered the development of work of the highest quality. Some of its dancers have moved on into professional careers and it has also performed as far afield as London.
But its work at home with community groups and schools is as valuable as those professional careers. Young and not-so-young people have grown and developed through workshops, redefining people’s perceptions of who can dance.
Judges’ comment: “Since its inception in 1997, Touch Compass has been the leader of integrated dance in New Zealand, providing a model for other dance groups to follow. Touch Compass showcases innovation, professionalism, grassroots, inclusion and partnership, and provides a national and international platform for its dancers and choreographers.”
Highly Commended: Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre, Auckland
Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre uses some of our innate capacities – recognising rhythm and pitch – to work with disabled and disadvantaged individuals.
Through the work of its music therapists, it becomes possible for clients to express themselves, engage with their community and develop meaningful relationships.
Raukatauri’s work is in high demand from education, health and disability organisations. It has responded to this demand by increasing the number of its centres and therefore the number of people it can support. At the same time, it has met the challenges of raising the necessary funds to continue expanding and keeping the cost of fees at levels that families can afford. This means that those who need the help of its music therapists are able to access it.
Judges’ comment: “Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre and its music programmes have had a huge impact, enriching and developing the lives of thousands of people since 2004. We were totally impressed by its many achievements and outreach partnerships.”
Arts Access Corrections Māui Tikitiki a Taranga Award 2018
Highly Commended: Rue-Jade Morgan, Otago Corrections Facility, Dunedin
Jade’s work at Otago Corrections Facility is impressive. Imprisoned for a serious crime, he was challenged while inside to take another pathway by a tutor of Māori arts and tikanga. He has followed that other pathway and become a lecturer at Otago Polytechnic.
Using that position and the understanding he built up on his life journey, he has created a programme in traditional martial arts and tikanga to support others in prison and probation services.
Jade’s programme targets Māori in high-security facilities, aiming to give them an understanding of who they are and where they come from. Following that, some prisoners have developed so much that they have been able to transfer to low-security areas and so become eligible for prison employment and training, which can equip them for life after prison.
He also offers released prisoners a chance to pursuing education opportunities at Otago Polytech as a means for them to continue engaging with education. Research has found that education is a powerful tool that contributes to positive lifestyle changes for them and their families.
Judges’ comment: “We were excited by this nomination. Jade has lived experience of incarceration and is sharing that experience and his own self-awareness with others. This is leadership that has grown from adversity and he is now giving back and connecting with prisoners through a Te Ao Māori approach.”
Highly Commended: George Massingham, Hawkes Bay Regional Prison
As the Prison Director of Hawkes Bay Regional Prison, George Massingham has been instrumental in the development of a kaupapa Māori pathway for prisoners across the prison.
Toi Māori (e.g. waiata, kapa haka, whaikorero and raranga), tikanga-based programmes and cultural practices are fundamental to a sense of identity for Māori and assist in their rehabilitation and reintegration.
He has showed courage, a willingness and foresight in enabling cultural inclusion and diversity through the arts. Restoring mana is an essential component of prisoners’ rehabilitation. Through the arts, they have been provided opportunities to “give back” to their whanau, friends, the prison and the community – helping to instill a sense of purpose, connection and wellbeing.
Under George’s leadership, the prison has fostered positive relationships with iwi and local businesses and organisations to support prisoner reintegration.
Judges’ comment: “George is the enabler and encourager who has ensured that tikanga-based arts and cultural programmes have flourished at Hawkes Bay Regional Prison. He leads a very committed team, who know the value of a tikanga approach to rehabilitation.”
Arts Access Te Auaha Community Partnership Award 2018
Highly Commended: Write Where You Are, NZ Festival, and Rimutaka and Arohata Prisons, Wellington
Most prisoners are in a place they don’t want to be, thrown together with people they didn’t choose to be with, and cut off from friends and family. Participating in writing classes creates a space that is healing and good to be in, simply by coming together, acting with respect and kindness and applying themselves to constructive shared activity.
Prison Voices was an event organised by the New Zealand Festival’s Writers and Readers programme with the Write Where You Are collective and the Department of Corrections, and was held at Arohata Prison and Rimutaka Prison on 8 March 2018.
Two busloads of international and local writers, journalists and interested public travelled to the prisons in Upper Hutt and participated in creative writing workshops with the prisoners. The visitors also heard the men and women read work they had written in the eight-week workshops leading up to Prison Voices.
Judges’ comment: “Bringing two busloads of people into prison to take part in interactive workshops with prisoners is one challenging project! The Prison Voices partners worked together to deliver a safe, valuable experience that had many positive outcomes for all involved, in particular for the women and men inside.”
Arts Access Creative New Zealand Arts For All Award 2018
Highly Commended: Royal New Zealand Ballet, Wellington
The RNZB is committed to making its performances and activities available to all New Zealanders. Its Education and Community Programme provides a gateway into the world of ballet by connecting people and communities to artistic practice and engaging them in a range of inspiring and high-quality participatory activities throughout New Zealand.
RNZB aims to be affordable and accessible to everyone and in 2017, it demonstrated its commitment by developing and implementing an accessibility policy.
Performances already planned for 2017 were broadened and tailored for different audiences, thereby reaching even more communities through a series of new initiatives and collaborations. These included the first audio described ballet (Romeo and Juliet) in New Zealand, relaxed performances, and the first Sign Language Interpreted guided tour of the RNZB at the St James Theatre in Wellington during New Zealand Sign Language Week.
Judges’ comment: “Well done to the RNZB for a wonderful programme of accessible events, making ballet cool and accessible to people who might not otherwise get the chance to experience it. It was also good to read your accessibility policy.”
Arts Access PAK’nSAVE Artistic Achievement Award 2018
Highly Commended: Jacob Dombroski, Wellington
Jacob Dombroski is a dancer and actor. In 2018, he co-devised and performed his first solo show Big J Stylez at the NZ Fringe Festival in Wellington. The show was also performed at The Herald in Auckland in early July. Jacob will return to Auckland in October where he will be performing in the Tempo Dance Festival,
Big J Stylez is an exploration of growing up in New Zealand as a young Samoan/Māori (Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Porou) who also happens to have Down syndrome. The story highlights the struggles Jacob has faced for being “different”, and how this pain can be turned around to create a dialogue about acceptance and truth.
Jacob continues to explore his art and for the past two years he has developed his passions as a dancer with the JDK Crew (hip hop team). He has performed with Everybody Cool Lives Here for the past five years in their productions, including No Post on Sunday, and says he wants to continue to challenge himself to have an artistic future and career, and share the love with the community.
Judges’ comment: “Jacob Dombroski is a talented emerging actor and dancer whose first solo show, Big J Stylez, is having a big impact on its audiences. We admire Jacob’s commitment to his craft and look forward to following his career.”
Highly Commended: Suzanne Cowan, Auckland
Suzanne Cowan’s professional dance career spans 19 years and has seen her work as a dancer, choreographer and teacher with Touch Compass Dance Company, and tour in 24 countries with UK-based CandoCo Dance Company from 2000 to 2003.
After this, Suzanne returned to New Zealand to apply her skills as a choreographer in the New Zealand arts community and as a scholar in dance studies.
She has developed independent performance works with Auckland-based choreographer Sean Curham. She has also undertaken research performances associated with her scholarly research and in 2018, she became Doctor of Philosophy in dance.
As a disability artist, Suzanne has created a significant body of choreography, performed all over the world, and contributed to significant scholarly research about how the arts can redefine disability.
Throughout her choreographic career, Suzanne has sought to create a distinct disability art aesthetic that seeks to maximise her point of difference rather than minimise it.
Judges’ comment: “Suzanne Cowan’s list of achievements and contributions are inspiring. She has performed here and internationally and has a significant body of choreography. She has led the way in becoming the first contemporary dancer with a disability to gain a PhD in dance.”
Arts Access Corrections Whai Tikanga Award 2018
Highly Commended: Bundy Waitai and Arrin Clarke, Northland Region Corrections Facility
Northland Region Corrections Facility has been set up as a cultural site rather than having specialist Maori Focus Units. Facilitators Arrin Clarke and Bundy Waitai deliver its cultural programmes and ensure the tikanga is consistent with that of Ngapuhi.
It is important for prisoners’ rehabilitation that those who identify as Māori have the opportunity to reconnect with their culture and in doing so find their identity and whakapapa.
Bundy Waitai has developed a Māori performing arts programme as well as being the kaiako for the Te Reo Māori course. He has also been instrumental in developing the tikanga for the prison.
Arrin delivers cultural programmes that focus on rehabilitation. He has been involved with NRCF for the past decade and has been responsible for keeping the tikanga alive and healthy.
NRCF considers itself fortunate to have two kaumatua on site who are the kaitiaki of the tikanga. They not only teach but also demonstrate manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, rangatiratanga and wairuatanga.
Judges’ comment: “Big hearts, big impact! Bundy and Arrin are the Kaitiaki of tikanga at Northland Region Corrections Facility. Their cultural programmes empower the men to reconnect with their culture, gain a sense of identity and make positive change.”