Rakatahi Awards recognise Māori excellence

Rakatahi Awards recognise Māori excellence

Māori intermediate and secondary school students from around Canterbury were recognised for their outstanding achievements at CPIT’s annual Rakatahi Supreme Awards last Friday. Eleven students were presented awards for leadership, excellence in Te Reo Māori, sporting performance, academic excellence and commitment to Tikanga.

“CPIT is very proud and privileged to be able to recognise these students’ efforts. These extremely talented young people are successes in themselves, contributors to their communities and role models for their peers,” Chief Executive Kay Giles said.

Connor Taurapa Matthews of Christchurch Boy’s High School received the prestigious Rakatahi Supreme Award for Year 13 for his pursuit of musical excellence and his passion for Te Reo Māori. The achievements which led to his nomination include taking out Top Musician at the CPIT Jazz Quest this year and completing the equivalent of two years of study towards a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Canterbury while still at secondary school.

“I am very and happy that I can represent my school and my family in this way [at the Rakatahi awards],” he said.


CE Kay Giles celebrates with Rakatahi Award winner Jordyn Te Rahui-Hobbs and Rakatahi Supreme Award winner Connor Taurapa Matthews.

Next year Matthews is looking forward to beginning a Bachelor of Musical Arts at CPIT where he has been accepted into Jazz School.

The supreme awards ceremony held at CPIT is the culmination of three preliminary Rakatahi ceremonies held throughout the year. Finalists are selected from nominated secondary students who have excelled in one of the following categories: Kanohi Kai Mātārae (Leadership), He Rau Tītapu (Excellence in Te Reo Māori), He Rei Puta (Excellence in Sports), Te Iti Kahuraki (Academic Excellence) and He Uruka Mau Tonu (Commitment to Māori values and Tikanga).

The awards have been run by CPIT through Te Puna Wānaka and the Centre for Māori and Pasifika Achievement (CMPA), with support from the CPIT Foundation, since 2006. CPIT’s vision of “whanau transformation through education” promotes individual Māori and Pasifika success through education as the key to wider social change and cultural empowerment.

Full list of Rakatahi Supreme Award recipients

Supreme winners

  • Year 13: Connor Matthews from Christchurch Boys’ High School
  • Year 11-12: Hayley Lee from Burnside High School
  • Year 9-10: Laken Wairau from Christchurch Girls’ High School
  • Year 7-8: Sapphire Wairau from Te Whānau Tahi


  • Jordyn Te Rahui-Hobbs from Geraldine High School
  • Ngamata Te Whakahawea Christie from Burnside High School
  • Jono Smythe from Burnside High School
  • Tirangi Hine-i-te-Awatea Skerrett from Villa Maria College
  • Aidan Marshall from Kaikoura High School
  • Josephine Nicholas-McAnergney from Christchurch Girls’ High School
  • Isabella Costigan from Opawa Primary
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