We are excited to announce that Ariana Tikao has been honoured as an Arts Foundation 2020 Laureate receiving the Jillian Friedlander Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Award.
Tikao is a leading player in the taonga puoro revival, and is bringing to life ancestral stories through song.
“He tino nui tēnei hōnore ki a ahau ki te tū iwaekanui i ēnei kaimahi toi katoa. It was such an honour to receive this award, and to get this recognition from my peers in the arts community of Aotearoa” Tikao said.
Ariana Tikao is a singer and composer of Kāi Tahu descent. She writes waiata exploring themes relating to her Kāi Tahu identity and mana wahine, often drawing upon historical kōrero from her ancestors. She is an artist who is amongst the current generation of leaders rejuvenating taonga puoro (the indigenous musical instruments of Aotearoa), following in the footsteps of Hirini Melbourne, and two of her mentors, Richard Nunns and Brian Flintoff.
In 2019 Tikao toured nationally with Atamira Dance Company, for the dance show Onepū, choreographed by Louise Potiki Bryant. Tikao co-composed the show’s soundtrack with Paddy Free, and also performed as Hinearoaropari, the atua of echoes. Onepū is based on an origin story that came from Tikao’s great-grandfather Teone Taare Tikao, about female atua (gods) of winds and other elements. Tikao says “we see these atua and this story as being able to connect us with our environment and whakapapa as well – very important in this day and age, in terms of the issues that we face, that we remember that we’re connected to our environment and not separate from it.” Tikao, Free, and Potiki Bryant are working on a new project together this year relating to Climate Change, on the theme of water, called Te Taki o Te Ua.
Tikao also works regularly with other taonga puoro exponents such as Alistair Fraser, sharing their knowledge through wānanga and performances. Tikao and Fraser are releasing an album together later this year, through Rattle Records.
Below is a link to the Arts Foundation website where you can find out more and also watch a video.