17 Feb 2020

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


Interactive cultural festival for young people in Porirua launched at New Zealand Festival of the Arts

Young people from Porirua are invited to explore the role they play in their community at a new youth-centric arts festival happening in the city this month.

TE ATA Media release

Te Ata brings artists from Aotearoa and around the world to join with young New Zealanders encouraging them to take a bold, brave, active role in shaping the culture of the place where they live. 

Te Ata is two weeks of creative development between artists and young people culminating in a week of public performances and events in Porirua.

Te Ata is part of Guest Curator and artist Lemi Ponifasio’s programme for the New Zealand Festival of the Arts.

Lemi says his desire with Te Ata is to include, celebrate and support young people to find their expression in the world.

With 40% of the population in Porirua below the age of 25, the city is an important place for Te Ata. 

“Porirua is abundant with youth who are ready to take an active role in shaping the cultural fabric of New Zealand, and this festival is for them together with young people from the Wellington region, and the country,” he says.

Te Ata provides opportunities to participate dance, theatre, poetry and music, giving them the platform to perform for their community. 

Artists include:

  • South African protest musician Neo Muyanga, US Youth Poet Laureate Kara Jackson,
  • Der Faust prize-winner for dance Aloalii Tapu, the Sinfonia for Hope Orchestra from New Zealand School of Music, Orchestra Wellington and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  • 2019 New Zealand Arts Laureate Coco Solid aka Jessica Hansell
  • American director Peter Sellars, 
  • FLEXN Dance-Pioneer Reggie Gray,
  • New Zealand’s Grammy Award-winning opera singer Jonathan Lemalu, baritone Kawiti Waetford, 
  • Indonesian theatre makers Helmi Prasetyo and Eri Aryani 
  • And Porirua’s own Virtuoso Strings Orchestra.  

All artists will work with young people in Porirua for two weeks to develop performances that will be presented to the public in the third and final week of the festival. 

“The easiest way for young people to speak about anything is through their dance, their song, their music, their fashion. That’s their language. That’s the world that is coming to them, and that’s the world that’s also coming to us. In their presence and through their creations we get a sense or an image of the multiple realities of the next generation,” says Lemi. 

There are a range of ticketed events throughout the festival including Goodbye Naughton with Aloalii Tapu, a show combining hip-hop, contemporary and Polynesian dance with theatre; O Matou Malaga, Our Voyage a music performance featuring Grammy Award-winning bass baritone Jonathan Lemalu and Porirua’s own Virtuoso Strings; and FLEXN, a provocative story-telling street dance performance that confronts tales of injustice and stems from the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Young people will have the chance to join dance choreographers Aloalii Tapu, Ooshcon Masseurs and Te Rau Oriwa Mitchell for a five-day workshop exploring the fusion of heritage, urban and contemporary dance forms, or protest musician Neo Muyanga to explore protest music, specifically looking at Aotearoa’s own songs of protest. The Ahu Taiohi programme, led by Kawiti Waetford and other amazing Māori artists, will reconnect rangatahi with this tākiwa, their inner selves and their environment.  

On Sunday 23rd February, Porirua locals are invited to pack a lunch and round up the family for To'ona'i: Te Ata Community Lunch at Te Rauparaha Park where workshop participation at Pātaka Art + Museum is encouraged. 

The final day of the festival (Saturday 29 February 2020) will offer the public the opportunity to witness the past two weeks’ work in a series of public performances and Talanoa held at Te Rauparaha Arena.

Visit festival.nz/teata for information on workshop registrations, public performances and tickets.  

For media enquiries please contact: 

Alana Hepburn, alana.hepburn@festival.co.nz, 021 255 7033 or (04) 801 9484