23 Mar 2012

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


Creative New Zealand announces delegation to Festival of Pacific Arts 2012

Around 100 Māori and New Zealand-based Pacific artists will represent Aotearoa alongside 27 other Pacific nations at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in July this year.

Around 100 Māori and New Zealand-based Pacific artists will represent Aotearoa alongside 27 other Pacific nations at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in July this year.

Considered the premier arts and culture event for the Pacific region, this is a government-to-government invitation with Te Waka Toi, the Māori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, responsible for Aotearoa’s representation. Te Arikinui King Tūheitia will lead the delegation as traditional head.  

Māori and Pasifika voices

Invitations to the festival have been made to indigenous peoples of the Pacific, and Māori have extended their invitation to New Zealand-based Pacific artists.

 “As tangata whenua our story is unique. Part of that story is our relationship with all peoples of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, so we are proud to collaborate with Pasifika artists.  Together we will showcase the best of Māori and Pacific art from Aotearoa - both traditional and contemporary,” said Darrin Haimona, Chair of Te Waka Toi and formal leader of the delegation.

Pele Walker, Chair of the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand said, "for New Zealand-based Pasifika artists, this is an important opportunity to reconnect with their origins while presenting a new perspective, shaped by their life in New Zealand."

Artists from North and South

Artists were invited to submit expressions of interest to participate in the delegation. Among those selected are weaver Emaraina Small (Napier), poet Daren Kamali (Auckland), sculptors Carla Ruka (Auckland) and Will Ngakuru (Northland), painter Priscilla Cowie (North Canterbury), Pacific Underground (Auckland) and Koile (Dunedin).

Travelling to the Solomon Islands is especially poignant for one artist.  Steven Gwaliasi grew up on Malaita Island, but has lived in New Zealand for more than 20 years.  Based in Hokitika, Steven is a sculptor, carver, jewellery maker and teacher.  He combines Melanesian imagery and West Coast resources, with much of his work made from pounamu.   

Husband and wife team Jeffrey Addison and Whaitaima Te Whare (Taupo) are part of a revival movement of a lesser known Māori artform, puppet theatre.  They will present the story, Tāwhaki and the Māori Potatoes using karetao (carved marionettes). Also traditional puppeteers, musician Jerome Kavanagh (Taihape) and James Webster (Whitianga) will participate in the festival. James is celebrated for his work with taonga pūoro, tā moko and sculpture. He recently featured in the MāoriTroilus and Cressida which will be performed in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in April.

The performing arts including kapa haka, contemporary dance and an evolution of Māori performance developed 100 years ago called Haka Theatre, are strongly represented by reigning national kapa haka champion Te Mātārae i Orehu (Rotorua), leading contemporary dance company Atamira (Auckland) and multi-disciplinary performers, Kura Te Ua and Ngarino Watt (Auckland). 

Niuean writer Dianna Fuemana (Auckland) will be joined by daughter Reid Elisaia and nephew Ali Foai to stage her play Birds. Dianna recently won a 2012 United States Screenwriting Internship Scholarship, securing a three month placement at Killer Films, New York.

In her early 70s, master weaver Misa Emma Keshsa (Dunedin) brings decades of experience. Taught to weave as a child in Samoa, Emma’s subsequent years of sharing knowledge with communities here and overseas, earned her the Queen's Service Medal in 2011.

A group of tohunga of Māori heritage artforms will also join the delegation, adding their expertise, reputation and mana to Aotearoa/New Zealand’s presence at the festival.

The overall group will travel with support from the Ministry of Defence who have donated the use of an RNZAF Boeing 757 for the journey to Honiara and back.  Creative New Zealand has invested $500,000 to support Aotearoa New Zealand’s presence at the festival and will provide on the ground support staff in collaboration with the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara.

The 11th Festival of Pacific Arts runs from 1- 13 July 2012. Information about the artists in the delegation can be found on the Creative New Zealand website. Aotearoa New Zealand has sent a delegation to every festival since 1972.



For media inquiries please contact:

Pirimia Burger

Communications adviser, Māori and Pacific

04 498 0727   027 290 1606



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