Wednesday June 29, 2016   Last updated 15:36PM
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Polynesian Centre honours Tommy Taurima
Tommy Taurima. Web: farnesmissionaries.blogspot.com

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Kapa haka legend Tommy Taurima has become the first New Zealander to receive a Polynesian Cultural Centre lifetime award for services to the performing arts.

The 77-year-old composer was unable to travel to Hawaii for the centre’s 50th anniversary event, so it was presented to him at the weekend at the Latter Day Saints chapel in Bridge Pa by PCC president and chief executive Alfred Grace, the first Maori and first New Zealander to head the centre.

The centre is the largest and most profitable cultural attraction in the Hawaiian Islands and its concerts feature music and dance from around the Pacific.

Mr Taurima was one of the original Polynesian instructors at the centre in 1963 and served for many years as musical director.

His show Horizons: Where the sea meets the sky ran for 14 years from 1995 to 2009.

Among Mr Taurima’s many compositions are Te Rina, which was covered by Sir Howard Morrison, and the Ngati Kahungunu anthem Kotiro Maori E - Ko Rongomaiwahine.

The Pacific Cultural Centre, also recognised for services to the centre, Hastings man Takaputai Walker for his services to carving.

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