Skip Content
Tangiwai Ria

Whirikoka kaiako and kapa haka legend Tangiwai Ria has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours.

Tangiwai received the honour for services to Māori performing arts and the community.

She is a life member of Te Matatini and led the Waihirere team for three decades, winning national titles in 1988, 1998 and 2002. She has also led kapa haka groups performing around the world.

Tangiwai – who teaches the Certificate in Tikanga Marae programme - says the honours are something “which seem to belong in another time”.

“I’m not sure people understand it anymore. I thought to myself, ‘I have got to feel fantastic about this but I’m not sure what it means’. It made me sit down and consider the life that I have lived and that’s been awesome and really worthwhile. I’m very proud and my friends and family certainly are. I’ve had people come up to me and bow and we laugh.”

Along with her involvement in teaching at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and kapa haka, Tangiwai was Chair of the Trustees for Parihimanihi Marae in Waihīrere near Gisborne from 2000 to 2015. She supervised major renovation projects for the primary buildings on the marae and provided oversight in the development and implementation of policies for the revitalisation of language and protocols through facilitating wānanga.

She mentors the Eco-Warriors, a group of Māori youth from Waihīrere engaging in the environmental preservation and restoration of the Waihīrere Domain.

Tangiwai was also among the first cohort of tauira to graduate from the He Waka Hiringa programme and says that’s the only qualification she’s ever had.

“Because I’ve been so busy, the community has been my university.”


 Back to news & events

Published On: 18 Jan, 2017

Article By:



Other Articles

  • 25 January, 2021

    Wānanga returns to Taumarunui with te reo and arts courses

    Local demand for te reo Māori learning has seen Te Wānanga o Aotearoa re-introduce classes to Taumarunui this year.

  • 22 January, 2021

    New forestry course offered in Tokoroa

    Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Ashworth St, Tokoroa, is offering up to 20 places on a new NZ Certificate in Forest Industry Foundation Skills (establishment and pruning).

  • 20 January, 2021

    Waka ama is about whānau, says Karmen

    The biggest buzz for Karmen Wallace at this year’s waka ama nationals is that a mokopuna has been competing in the midgets’ section, making them the third generation of her family to take part.

  • 20 January, 2021

    Be wise and sanitise at waka ama champs

    Combatting the potential spread of COVID-19 has been front and centre at this week’s Te Wānanga o Aotearoa National Waka Ama Sprint Championships at Karapiro.