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Awatea Edwin  

Pae Matua

Te Wai Pounamu Design, Art

Kāi Tahu + Kati Mamoe

He uri tenei no Te Fanau o Tarawhata mai Arofenua.

Born in 1968 into a mixed cultural family. Dad was born in an air-raid in Birmingham England and Mum was the 13th child of Kaitomuri Tuku Horo and Te Hira Harold Tarawhata Waaka, of the Kati Huirapa people of South Canterbury.

In life Awatea has had several passions to which he has applied himself.

After leaving school very early (at 14) he attended the carving school at Maraeroa in Wellington, graduating in 1986. This time began an ongoing research into the many facits of his southern Maori culture and heritage. This is a passion which seems to only increase with every year. Over a period of 12 years Awatea did his own research into the art styles of the Southern Maori including kili-mogo (Ta Moko), whakairo (iwi, rakau and kohatu, ana tuhituhi (rock shelter drawings) and design of Pa and kaik (Kainga). SOme of these experinces culminated in the design and build of the Tamaki Heritage village in ferrymead Christchurch where he worked as Creative Director and General manager for a period of four years.

He is a practicing Martial Artist and Warrior Traditions Teacher with three decades of experience. This has lead to his developing the Man Sau Gwoon and Ue Kaha No Roto schools of martial and warrior arts. He actively instructs in these and teaches ‘Real’ Self Defence skills. This background has also lead Awatea to develop his own style of fight choreography for stage and screen. He currently holds master levels in Chinese and Maori combative arts and actively practices the healing traditions of both.

Involved in performing arts for most of his life he is a co-founder of the southern ‘Bi-cultural’ theatre collective Kilimogo Productions. In this group he has been an actor, writer, coordinator and general performance innovator.
With other theatre companies he has been a fight choreographer, actor, tour manager, production manager and stage manager.

Being a community development worker (with roles in local and national government agencies including the former Community Employment Group and Waimakariri District Council) for many years Awatea has a keen interest in the ongoing growth of communities across the country and of the talents each of these possesses. In a recent conference of a national ‘gang’ held in Christchurch, Awatea was invited as a guest speaker. His speech focused on the ‘Breaking down of the ghetto-isation of Maori in the ‘hood’. By offering new experiences outside the ‘hood’ eyes can be opened enough, at times, for them to see a new future and direction for themselves. Theatre can be one such vehicle for so many people trapped in the smallness of their current experience. Many of the young actors Awatea has worked with for the past two years are right now having their first taste of theatre and of life away from the streets they have confined themselves too.

Awatea has traveled to many parts of the world to train, work and to simply experience life differently – seeing the world outside of the ‘hood’. These experiences are priceless.

During his work with the tamaki heritage group Awatea did a research journey tracing the linguistic and cultural trails of his tupuna back to east polynesia and beyond into the west culminating in a 8000 year old rock art site in Hemudu lagoons region in China, considered the leaping place of the proto-polynesian, Austronesian people who spread from there to Taiwan and south-east into the pacific.

After leaving his role as ‘Creative Director’ for the Tamaki Heritage Experiences, Awatea has continued developing shows and writing plays and a series of historical novels. He formed Ue-Kaha Holdings in 2009 as an umbrella for his many facits of creative and martial / warrior developments.

Awatea is currently employed as the Principal Liaision Officer for the Te Wai Pounamu Office of the Te Kooti Whenua Maori, Maori Land Court.

‘My mission is to develop and present southern stories about people and events ( Maori and non-Maori) to a wider New Zealand and International audience’.

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