27 Mar 2024

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


A group of Pasifika people are singing onstage accompanied by an orchestra.
Members of Signature Choir, performing Mana Moana with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at Spark Arena, Auckland, November 2023.  Image supplied. 

Creative New Zealand is proud to announce the recipients of the Niu Dawn Raids Funding Initiative. Supported by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and NZ On Air, this $1.9 million initiative will share experiences of an important event in New Zealand history from the perspective of Pasifika creative communities.

28 artists and arts organisations from across the motu will deliver large-scale creative works about the Dawn Raids. Supported projects will take place in both large cities and regional communities and will span a variety of artforms including performing arts, music, documentary, digital storytelling, and exhibition development.  

The initiative is an opportunity for Pacific artists to capture and reflect on lived experiences of the Dawn Raids. It looks to increase historical resources for future generations and enable a deeper public understanding from the perspective of the communities most impacted. 

A black and white headshot of Ratu Noa Niubalavu Nawalowalo, a Fijian man wearing a white shirt and black tie
Nina's late father, Ratu Noa Niubalavu Nawalowalo, LL.B. Photo by Ans Westra, Wellington, early 1960s

Nina Nawalowalo ONZM is an award-winning director, producer and co-founder of the contemporary Pacific theatre company, The Conch. Nina’s had recent international success with her directorial film debut – A Boy Called Piano: The Story of Fa’amoana John Luafutu.

With the support of this initiative, The Conch will develop a new documentary focusing on the Melanesian experience of the Dawn Raids in Wellington - particularly the hard-fought legal battles in the courts.

“This subject has been close to my family’s heart for a very long time. My father, the late Ratu Noa Nawalowalo (pictured), was the first Fijian Lawyer and Barrister in Aotearoa, graduating from Victoria University, Wellington”, says Nina.

“Throughout my childhood, he represented many families affected by the Dawn Raids. I vividly remember those who visited our home to consult with him; and it has long been my family's hope to reveal some of these stories.”

Neil Ieremia
Neil Ieremia ONZM. Photo by Jinki Cambronero

Neil Ieremia ONZM is the founder, artistic director and chief executive of the award-winning contemporary dance company, Black Grace. In 2018, Neil founded The Guerilla Collection – a free arts festival held in Auckland that unites Pacific artists from across disciplines to create fresh, engaging art in collaboration with Black Grace dancers.  

"We are excited to use The Guerrilla Collection festival format to empower artists from within our Pasifika communities to create and perform their own original works regarding the Dawn Raids,” says Neil.

“While dance will always remain at the heart of what we do, we look forward to connecting with a range of Pasifika artists to also include theatre, song, spoken word and digital offerings.”

NZSO_Signature Choir
Signature Choir with the NZSO at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.

Signature Choir have a wide range of performance experience – from local churches to selling out Auckland’s Spark Arena. Their recent record-breaking live show and album, Mana Moana, was created and performed in partnership with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Jadrah Tupai, Music Director and Composer, says this funding will support a new choral album, merging profound narratives of the Dawn Raids with orchestral music. All songs will be composed by Pacific songwriters.

“We are honoured to be the recipients of such a momentous and important kaupapa,” says Jadrah.

“We are excited at the opportunity to create new works that acknowledge such a pivotal time in our Pacific peoples’ history here in Aotearoa. This project will be our most fulfilling work to date and we cannot wait to use our voices to shine a further light on the Dawn Raids.”

Makerita  Urale – Senior Manager, Pacific Arts, at Creative New Zealand – says she was thrilled to see such a high level of interest in this special funding initiative.

“The arts help us to express our sense of place and history in Aotearoa. These fantastic projects celebrate the resilience of Pasifika peoples,” she says.

“We received many high-quality proposals we were unable to support, so it was a very difficult decision.” 

 “At the heart of this initiative is a commitment to upholding the mana of Pacific artists and their stories. We hope it will support a community-led healing and restorative process through Pasifika storytelling.”

The Niu Dawn Raids Funding Initiative has been made possible by a one-off fund from Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage and delivered by Creative New Zealand, with support partner NZ On Air. 

It was designed alongside Manatū Taonga and delivered through a Mana Pasifika kaupapa process in line with the Pacific Arts Strategy 2023-2028. 

Media inquiries: media@creativenz.govt.nz

Funding recipients

$13,571,548 million total funding requested
$1.9 million total funding available and awarded

  • Fua Creative Limited - $75,000
    Towards the creation and South Island tour of a multi-disciplinary theatre show, sharing Tongan stories and experiences of the Dawn Raids
  • Methodist Churches of Samoa, Palmerston North - $25,000
    Towards a choral music album that reflects the experiences of community members impacted by the Dawn Raids
  • Kasi Valu - $75,000
    Towards a collaborative and multi-disciplinary arts project about the Dawn Raids by diverse LGBTQIA+/MVPFAFF+ artists
  • Pukepuke 'o Tonga - $30,000
    Towards a documentary project exploring the journey and stories of elderly Tongans in Auckland, interviewed by youth about their experiences during the Dawn Raids period
  • Tania Masoe - $50,000
    Towards a documentary theatre show by Cast Productions, capturing different perspectives of the impact of the Dawn Raids
  • Kophie Su'a-Hulsbosch - $40,000
    Towards creating a large-scale public mural project in Ōtautahi reflecting on the experiences and generational impact on the Pacific community during the Dawn Raids
  • Fonoti Pati Umaga - $80,000
    Towards a music project and new compositions about the Dawn Raids with Pasifika creatives led by award winning Pacific composer, bass guitarist and musician Fonoti Pati Umaga QSM
  • Saipele Nili - $80,000
    Towards a narrative short film and new soundtrack, created around Dawn Raids themed events, fostering healing, education and understanding
  • Jennifer Tilomai Farrell-Taylor - $20,000
    Towards a Pasifika body of art that encourages awareness of the Dawn Raids and the impact it has had on local communities in Palmerston North
  • Tautua Arts Limited - $50,000
    Towards ‘Echoes of Exile: A Daughter’s Quest to Reunite with her Father’, a poignant digital storytelling project delving into the inter-generational impact and trauma of the Dawn Raids on a Pacific Island family
  • Seidah Tuaoi - $25,000
    Towards a short film depicting the lived experience of Pasifika people during the Dawn Raids through Siva and Popping 
  • Taofia Petelo Tauiliili Pelesasa - $70,000
    Towards a short film drama, set in Rotorua in the 1970s against the backdrop of the Dawn Raids, written and directed by Taofia Pelesasa
  • Linda Va'aelua - $30,600
    Towards curating a group exhibition by Samoan and Tongan visual artists, creating works in response to the Dawn Raids era, with a supporting catalogue for artists to share their experiences
  • Elizabeth Laupepa - $75,000
    Towards the development and presentation of an immersive visual exhibition, including short documentaries to share the experience of the aftermath of the Dawn Raids
  • Thomas Ikitogia - $30,000
    Towards capturing original stories from those impacted by the Dawn Raids, to present as an audiobook, with an accompanying artwork presentation for each story
  • Kisione Vea and Clive Fua - $25,000
    Towards creating a collection of original songs, ‘Dawn Fo’ou’ and a live release show, written by young urban Auckland Pacific creatives; based on personal family stories and firsthand experiences of the Dawn Raids era
  • Ōtepoti Pasifika Arts Collective - $30,000
    Towards creating a short film to tell the stories of Southern Pacific communities and the impact of the Dawn Raids on Pacific people
  • Joanna Toloa - $30,000
    Towards creating new songs inspired by the stories of their parents and families that were directly affected by the Dawn Raids
  • Liberation Library Aotearoa Mural Collective - $64,000
    Towards a large-scale ‘Niu Dawn Raids’ mural art and digital content by Pasifika and Māori artists, capturing stories of the past
  • Taulanga U - $30,000
    Towards documenting stories of Dawn Raids’ survivors in the Tongan community in Central Auckland
  • Malamalama Moni Aoga Amata - $25,000
    Towards Dawn Raids activities as part of the Pasifika Fusion Festival in the Manawatu Region
  • Luke Willis Thompson - $65,400
    Towards creation of a short filmic artwork, capturing the Dawn Raids’s years and drawing on personal family stories and experiences
  • Daisy Lavea-Timo - $25,000
    Towards the creation of new poetry and musical works about the Dawn Raids with young people and communities in Christchurch
  • Pacific Underground - $200,000
    Towards touring of the major Dawn Raids play by Oscar Kightley to Wellington and engagement with schools, young people and communities
  • Signature Choir Wellington - $100,000
    Towards Pasifika choral and orchestral compositions about the Dawn Raids to be performed by Signature Choir and an orchestra plus developing digital content for the project 
  • The Black Grace Trust - $250,000
    Towards developing and presenting ‘The Guerrilla Collection’ to foster cross-cultural and inter-generational conversations through dance, theatre, song, spoken word, music and digital components to recognize the impact of the Dawn Raids - led by award-winning artistic director, Neil Ieremia
  • The Conch Charitable Trust - $150,000
    Towards a new documentary film about the Dawn Raids directed by award winning director Nina Nawalowalo ONZM, produced by The Conch
  • Tikilounge Productions - $150,000
    Towards a three-part series for the Coconet TV online platform by young Pasifika digital producers