National | Arts

Te Heuheu and Graham receive Queen's medals

A longstanding former female politician and a prolific artist were among those given honours at Auckland government house today.

Accolades flowed from the community for their huge contribution to Māoridom.

The accomplished leader hailing from Mount Tongariro is now officially Dame Georgina Te Heuheu.

The veteran former politician is being honoured for her services to the state and Māori.

Te Heuheu served five terms in parliament, including as cabinet minister, and held many portfolios.

“In her ministerial roles, she led many committees.  A female forerunner who sought positions on many boards throughout the country,” says Piri Sciascia.

Te Heuheu has been chair of Māori Television since 2012 and deputy chair of her tribal Tūwharetoa Māori trust board and Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust.

Sciascia says despite her many accomplishments she remains humble.

“We have witnessed her intelligence to champion issues and advocate, but her greatest strength is in listening and observing in decision making,” he says.

Veteran contemporary sculptor, Fred Graham was also honoured for services to art.  The friend of the late Te Arikinui Dame Te Ātairangi Kaahu is one of the pioneers of contemporary Māori art.

“He was part of a team of artists who married contemporary art with Māori, alongside Herewini Murupaenga, Cliff Whiting, and Hirini Moko Meads,” says Fred’s son, Brett.

Three more Māori will be honoured for services to Māori, arts, education and the community tomorrow.