22 Jun 2023

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


Teherenui Koteka, a young Cook Island woman, looks directly at the camera with a slight smile. She is wearing a high-neck white jumper and has her curly hair in a high ponytail.
Image supplied.

Kūki ‘Āirani producer, director, writer and actor Teherenui will spend three months working at BATS Theatre in Wellington, as the very first recipient of this residency. 

Supported by our Pacific Arts Strategy, this opportunity is designed to support a Pasifika producer to develop new work and to expand their network.

Teherenui, who was born and raised on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, says she is grateful for this opportunity.

 “I'm super stoked! Producing is an area I specifically wanted to upskill in, and there's no better place to do that than at BATS,” she says.

“There is a shortage of Pasifika producers in New Zealand – I self-produce a lot of work and have also noticed a real lack of Cook Island producers.”

Teherenui has experience across a wide range of creative disciplines – she’s worked with Tawata Productions and Auckland Theatre Company, has a Masters of Creative Writing and has directed, produced and acted in several of her own shows, both in Aotearoa and Rarotonga.

 As part of this residency, Teherenui will work from the BATS Theatre office in Pōneke, and engage with incoming artists. She'll be encouraged to develop new contracts and to further build her connections in the industry. The finer details will be tailored to what she wishes to achieve.

Teherenui says she likes to think of creating as an avenue to generate conversation.

“As of late, my work has been focused on issues around sexuality and gender and exploration of sex as a young person,” she says.

“I’m trying to build better conversations for our young people, especially in some Pasifika communities where these topics are still seen as taboo.”

Ali Foa’i, our Principal Adviser, Pacific Arts, is thrilled to offer this opportunity to Teherenui.

“BATS Theatre holds mana for our Pacific arts community and we’re proud to partner with the BATS whānau to offer this opportunity, which seeks to fill a clear gap in the creative industry. As Teherenui says, we need more Pacific producers.

“We’re excited to see Teherenui extend her vā by exploring new collaborations and building her capacity to develop national and international-scale work.”

Jonathon Hendry, Chief Executive of BATS Theatre, says they're stoked to be working with Teherenui in such an exciting initiative.

“Teherenui’s work to date has been highly impressive and speaks to the incredible strength of artistry emerging from Moana Oceania. We look forward to doing all we can to amplify the positive impact she will undoubtedly make.”

Teherenui is ready to take on this new challenge.

“I was told very early on that you need to be able to wear more than one hat to make a full career. As I started learning to direct and was being mentored by more established artists, I see that it’s now my turn to give back – that's where Producing comes in,” she says.

“I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of this residency. I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully I can feed it forward, as I gain this knowledge.”

Media inquiries, contact Esther Lees