18 Jun 2019
Indigenous practitioners Cynthia Lickers-Sage (Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance [IPAA]) and Wesley Enoch (Artistic Director of Sydney Festival 2020), were in Wellington and Rotorua last week for the Kia Mau Festival and to network with New Zealand artists and arts organisations.
The pair attended the highly successful Kia Mau Festival which showcased indigenous performances in the Wellington region between 1– 15 June. Cynthia also had the opportunity to connect with artists and practitioners in the Bay of Plenty, to share learnings from the IPAA programme in Canada.
The visit was made possible through Creative New Zealand’s international visitor programme, Te Manu Ka Tau: Flying Friends (TMKT), which brings key international influencers across art forms to Aotearoa to increase their awareness of New Zealand arts, to build relationships and networks and to develop international opportunities for local artists and organisations.
Previous visitors have included international festival directors, agents, curators, presenters, producers and publishers.
Creative New Zealand hosted Cynthia, Wesley and Kia Mau Festival Director, Hone Kouka, to a kapū tī and kōrero (morning tea and talk). Among the themes that emerged from the kōrero were art as political activism, indigenous storytelling and national identity.
“As indigenous people we deal in reciprocity…in my community (Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan, Canada) I was told by our elders that I would be the one to connect people…That’s what we do at the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance,” said Executive Director, Cynthia Lickers-Sage.
Sydney Festival 2020 Artistic Director, Wesley Enoch (Aboriginal, Noonuccal Nuugi) said artists are at the forefront of the discussion around national identity – they have a way of articulating discomfort that sparks conversation. “Three to four percent of Australia’s population is First Nations, so most of the lived experience of Australians is through other mediums like film, like storytelling in television and theatre,” said Wesley, highlighting the role artists can play in negotiating the political space for indigenous communities by offering diverse lenses from which to view an issue.
Kia Mau Festival Director, Hone Kouka, was excited to give Cynthia and Wesley a taste of what Māori and Pacific artists have to offer, with the attendance of Kia Mau performances on the pair’s schedule. “It’s going to be a good week of kōrero,” he said. Hone notes that the appetite for showcasing diversity and support for young people in the arts is growing in New Zealand – this is attracting more diverse audiences. “Everyone has a tribe, join those tribes up and you have a super-audience,” he said.
Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright said, “We learn from engaging with artists and practitioners all the time and this visit is a real treat for us. I want to acknowledge Kia Mau and Hone and team as the platform for this engagement. These networks are dynamic and fluid…we are looking forward to a long partnership in this space – these are exciting times for us.”
Ko te pae tawhiti, whaia, kia tata; Ko te pae tata, whakamaua, kia tīnā
Secure the horizons that are close to pursue the more distant horizons so that they may become close
About Te Manu Ka Tau: Flying Friends
The purpose of the incoming international visitor programme Te Manu Ka Tau: Flying Friends (TMKT) is to profile New Zealand arts to key international contacts, to increase awareness of and raise the market profile of our artists and institutions/companies. The programme ultimately aims to generate invitations for artists to participate in international events and gain greater opportunities through international networks.
The programme offers the opportunity for the arts sector in Aotearoa to develop new or strengthen existing international relationships and to increase connectivity for New Zealand artists. TMKT raises the profile of New Zealand arts internationally and of the culture of Aotearoa in a broader sense as the international guests subsequently act as ambassadors.
The guests share their knowledge with the wider arts community through one to one meetings, studio visits, participation in events and panels and workshops, all enhancing the arts community’s ability to operate internationally. Creative New Zealand also takes advantage of the international knowledge and expertise of the guests to support the development of strategies and programmes.
The TMKT programme is managed by Creative New Zealand’s International Team and where possible delivered in partnership with the key arts organisations across art forms. The delivery partnership is established on a case by case basis, to suit the sector needs or characteristics, the itinerary of the guest(s) and the host organisation.
TMKT programmes take place throughout the year, to coincide with key festivals, exhibitions and events which showcase a range of artists, or at a time to suit the delegates’ availability and programming timeframes.
Guests are identified through consultation with the sector and include directors, curators, producers, publishers and ‘key influencers/taste makers’. For each guest, Creative New Zealand creates bespoke programmes to suit their programming interests and priorities. These may include performances, festivals, one-to-one meetings, studio visits, exhibitions, arts markets and conferences.
For more information about Te Manu Ka Tau: Flying Friends:
Senior Advisor, International Services and Initiatives