Farewell Dr Cliff Whiting — 17.07.17

The Arts Foundation was very proud to have honoured Dr Cliff Whiting as an Icon Award recipient in 2013 and very sad to learn of his passing.

Kua hinga te totara whakarangiura o Tanematua,
te kaka kirea o te ao toi.

Haere ra Karawhata ki to whare whakairo i te rangi. Kei reira a Heather ma e tatari ana ki a koe, e pohiri atu ana ki a koe.

Kei reira hoki ko te taowaru, ko te manaia. Ma Te Ngaiotukirarotonga, mana ra koe e whakaahuru ki te papakoihi o Uenukurangi. Ko koe tonu tena, ko te tumatakahuki o te tukutuku,te pitau a manaia e heketipi ana i te rangi tuhaha. E moe, whakata e hika i te tuarongo o to Rangiatea kai tua o Mairiirikapuaiterangi. *

The Icon Awards are the Arts Foundation’s highest honour and are awarded to artists with extraordinary achievements and a significant impact on the nation. We send our deepest condolences to Dr Whiting's family and all who knew and loved him.

Patrons to the Icons, Sir Eion & Jan, Lady Edgar, said “Dr Whiting’s impact on Aotearoa is profound. He excelled as an artist and teacher and has gifted the nation with many significant works. We are very proud to have known Dr Whiting and to have welcomed him as an Icon. It is very sad to hear of his passing and we offer our condolences to his family."

Dr Whiting made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand arts and culture over a career spanning more than fifty years, in the fields of art education, art administration, marae building and renovation, and as an individual artist.

Born in 1936, in a whare raupō beside the Kereu river, inland from Te Kaha on the East Coast, Dr Whiting showed early signs of having inherited the artistic creativity inherent in his whakapapa. This talent was nurtured, encouraged, and challenged by many along his journey, in particular by Pine Taiapa of Ngāti Porou and Gordon Tovey within arts education. Dr Whiting developed a recognisable style of contemporary Māori art, based firmly on his Te Whānau-a-Apanui tribal traditions, which can be seen in his marae building, and his public and individual artworks. His style across a wide range of art forms, including wood carving, sculpture and construction, bone and stone carving, oil and watercolour, ink drawing, printmaking, fibre-weaving and photography, along with his innovative approaches to using new materials, has been an inspiration to many aspiring New Zealand artists.

In 1998, Dr Whiting was appointed to The Order of New Zealand. He was a long-serving member of the order, which can only have a maximum of 20 living members at any time.

Dr Whiting contributed his expertise and time to a large number of marae building and renovation projects, he served on numerous national arts committees, and was the first Kaihautū of Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, working tirelessly to establish a fully bicultural kaupapa as a foundation stone for the institution. His many large scale works are displayed in numerous locations around New Zealand including the National Library, the Christchurch High Court, the Beehive, Television New Zealand, and the visitors centre at Aoraki Mt Cook.

Kei konā te aroha me te whakaaro,

The Arts Foundation

*Words were gifted to us to share with you from Derek Lardelli, Laureate and Trustee of the Arts Foundation