Arts & Culture New Zealand

Bold Theatre And Fresh Dance Hits Wellington

express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

Bold Theatre, Fresh Dance, Mana Māori, Mana Pasifika – Kia Mau Festival Returns!


New Zealand’s only contemporary indigenous theatre and dance festival, Kia Mau Festival, will return to Wellington from Friday 2 – Saturday 24 June. A heart-warming cultural celebration, led by Wellington’s own Māori and Pasifika theatre and dance companies, the Festival provides a unique chance for whānau and communities to engage with today’s tangata whenua in a truly genuine way through the celebration of art from not only local Māori and Pasifika artists, but also First Nations people from across the globe.


One of the shows presenting at Kia Mau is Manaia, bringing together the works of three wahine toa from the Atamira Dance Company in a powerful exploration of Maori femininity. Under the theme of Manaia, a mythical creature with the head of a bird and body of a human, the programme bridges human endeavour to spiritual aspiration. Nancy Wijohn will present her solo performance Pito in the short works programme, weaving together physical opposition with illusion, while the story explores themes around maternal connection. Pito evokes the ideas of connection and disconnection through both imagery and audio-visual elements, transporting imaginations to a different time and environment.  


Nancy Wijohn (Te Rarawa, Tūhoe, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa) has been an inte­gral member of Atamira Dance Com­pany since 2008, performing in numerous works with the company throughout Aotearoa, Hawaii, North America, and Asia, with Pito being the third work she has choreographed for Atamira. Nancy’s first independent work Āhua, working alongside chore­ographer Kelly Nash and acclaimed director Rachael House, received critical acclaim in its short season at Tempo dance festival 2015. Outside of Atamira, Nancy has been a prin­ciple dancer in Okareka Dance Com­pany’s acclaimed show Mana Wahine that toured extensively through­out New Zealand and was performed at Brisbane’s World Theatre Festival, and she has also collaborated with Carol Brown in numerous works seeing her travel to the Prague Quadrennial 2015, per­forming in Flood. Nancy will be head­ing to Canada to facilitate in workshops and creative labs with Santee Smith (First Na­tion’s artist/director of Kaha:wi dance theatre) who is also taking part in the Kia Mau Festival this year, before taking up the prestigious indigenous dance residency in Banff.

Nancy’s involvement in the Festival comes in the incredible package of Manaia, Atamira Dance Company’s new short works programme that showcases the strong female choreographic voice within the company, presenting at the Hannah Playhouse from 13 – 17 June.


Friday 2 – Saturday 24 June

Venues across Wellington


Hannah Playhouse, Wellington City

Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 June

Tiki Taane Mahuta

The Opera House, Wellington City

Friday 2 June

 Portrait of an Artist Mongrel

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Wednesday 6 – Thursday 7 June

Fire In The Water, Fire In The Sky

Pataka Gallery + Museum, Porirua

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 June

Gathering Clouds

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Thursday 7 – Saturday 10 June

Lick My Past

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Thursday 7 – Saturday 10 June


BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 June

Dance Talks Conversations with the Artists

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Wednesday 7, Thursday 8, Wednesday 14 & Thursday 15 June

Friday’s Flock

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Thursday 8 – Saturday 10 June

Breaking Ground 

New Works-In-Development by Writers + Choreographers

The Pit, Te Ara Hihiko at Massey University

Thursday 8 & Saturday 10 June

Riverside Kings

Expressions Whirinaki, Upper Hutt: Friday 9 June

BATS Theatre, Wellington City: Tuesday 13 – Saturday 17 June

This Is What It Looks Like

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 June

The Maori Sidesteps

BATS Theatre, Wellington City

Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 June

Purple Onion

Hannah Playhouse, Wellington City

Friday 16 – Saturday 17 June

Mata and the Mysterious Musical Maunga

Te Marae at Te Papa, Wellington City
Saturday 17 June

The Mooncake and the Kūmara 

Hannah Playhouse, Wellington City

Wednesday 21 – Saturday 24 June

Head along to Eventfinda for tickets and more information.

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express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.