Tama Huata’s Legacy Lives On in New Art and Performance Space

Ariki Huata.

The legacy of Tama Huata, a leading figure in Māori performing arts and cultural development, was celebrated and recognized with one of the public spaces in the recently redeveloped Toitoi Municipal Building – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Center which bears her name.

The Tama Tūranga Huata hall, located on the ground floor, and which will be used for performing arts and community exhibitions, was officially blessed last week in a ceremony attended, among others, by members of the whānau of Tama.

Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said Tama, along with her father Canon Wi Te Tau Huata and the wider whānau, had been instrumental in keeping the district of Hastings vibrant and moving forward.

Tama has been instrumental in the creation of many initiatives including the Te Matatini Kapa Haka Festival, Māori Music Month and Waiata Māori Awards, the world renowned Kahurangi Māori Dance Theater Company, Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Te Waka Tapu o Takitimu and the new kura being built on Bennett Road in Waipatu.

“Along with Tama’s many significant accomplishments, her father Wi composed our beloved waiata Tutira Mai Ngā Iwi, which is one of our favorite waiata on the board.

“Not only have we named and dedicated a public space to Tama, but we have incorporated Tama’s Mauritian and spiritual presence into this venue as a guardian for all who enter and perform here.

“It is truly special that his legacy and presence lives on in such a visible way to inspire our rich and diverse arts and performance community well into the future.”

The Tama Tūranga Huata Hall was adorned with a special mantle in the form of a window decal designed by Tama’s son, Ariki Huata, in honor of his father.

Ariki said the design represents Tama’s mana and determination and denotes the space as one of knowledge and warmth that everyone can engage with.

“It was a privilege to design this for Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Center and Hastings District Council and I hope everyone who uses this space enjoys it.”

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