Hurō hurō, kia whakanuia tō tātau Toihau Matarau a Tama Waipara.

SOUNZ Co-Chair | Toihau Matarua Tama Waipara has been awarded the 2023 Kiwibank Local Hero award for the Gisborne Tairāwhiti region.

Kiwibank asked the people of Aotearoa to nominate the individual’s inspiring change in their communities.

After receiving hundreds of nominations from across the motu, the panel of regional judges were given the difficult task of awarding the top 100 inspirational Kiwi’s who have made a positive difference in their corner of Aotearoa.

This group of exceptional Local Heroes have fed families in need, donated thousands of volunteer hours and raised millions of dollars for those around them.

Tama is a force in Te Tairāwhiti’s arts scene, creating massive opportunities for the region to share its culture. As a young man Tama won a coveted spot at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music, where he studied performance clarinet. When an accident meant he was unable to play, Tama discovered his voice. Now well known as a singer, the award winning musician helped establish the Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in 2019, and is now the director of the world-class showcase in Gisborne. 

Drawing hundreds of people to the region each year, the festival has been a draw-card for the community, boosting tourism. The Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival is going from strength to strength, giving audiences new experiences while supporting the economic life of the region. Tama has helped revitalize Gisborne during the Covid-19 pandemic, creatively finding ways to host arts and culture experiences that buoy the community.

This article first appeared on the Kiwibank website here.