Toi Tū Toi Ora: Māori art exhibition book wins supreme design award

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Māori art exhibition book wins supreme design award
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A book based on the breathtaking contemporary Māori art exhibition, Toi Tū Toi Ora, has won the supreme award for best designed book in Aotearoa at the PANZ Book Design Awards in Auckland on Thursday evening.

Books grounded in te ao Māori were the big winners at the awards ceremony, making up the bulk of titles singled out for recognition.

Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art – edited by Nigel Borell (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whakatōhea) and designed by Tyrone Ohia (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Te Rangi), with layout by Katrina Duncan – a story of contemporary Māori art from the 1950s to the present day, contains more than 200 artworks by 110 Māori artists.

The judges described the book as an excellent work with an ‘enduring’ design quality that is “strong, clear, and contemporary, but in a way that eschews trends to produce a piece of work that will endure as a good piece of design across time.”

Toi Tū Toi Ora curator and book editor Nigel Borell. Photo /NZME

In 2021 Borell was recognised for his landmark work curating the Toi Tū Toi Ora exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in 2020-21 with the Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi’s inaugural He Momo – A Moment In Time Award.

“When we think about moments that have truly moved the needle on Aotearoa’s arts landscape – Toi Tū Toi Ora was one of them. It has redefined the story we tell about the arts in this country,” Te Tumu Toi’s awards panel said.

Earlier this year, Borell told the NZ Herald that he spent time after leaving Auckland Art Gallery in the “warm embrace of everyone’s experience of the show”.

“That was the most amazing antidote of all the hard work of getting to that finish line,” he said.

As well as receiving the Gerard Reid Best Book Award, Toi Tū Toi Ora was also awarded the Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book and the Te Herenga Waka University Press Award for Best Typography.

Books grounded in te ao Māori were the big winners at the 2023 at the PANZ Book Design Awards in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

‘Beautiful pair of books’

Several other Te ao Māori books were singled out for awards recognition.

The Best Non-Illustrated Book Award went to A Fire in the Belly of Hineāmaru and te reo Māori version Ka Ngangana Tonu a Hineāmaru by Melinda Webber and Te Kapua O’Connor, translated into Māori by Quinton Hita and designed by Duncan Munro, with cover art by Shane Cotton.

Photo / File

The judges said they were enamoured with this “beautiful pair of books” – one in te reo, one in English – and praised the way artist Shane Cotton’s “visually arresting” artwork was complemented by the alternating coloured letters of the fiery title type.

The Best Children’s Book Award was won by Mat Tait’s Te Wehenga: The separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku, designed by the author along with Megan van Staden.

Last month, the title won the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year at the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Dr Hinemoa Elder’s Wawata – Moon Dreaming, designed by Cat Taylor, received the Best Commercial Book for Adults award.

The judges said the book displayed an “incredible” consideration of design care in the chapter openers and showed a “deep reflection of the taonga of mātauranga Māori”.

This content was originally published here.