Brunning play first act for arts festival

An arts festival that will take place for the first time in October has announced the first event in its programme.

Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival takes place from October 4 to 20 and promises to deliver more than 70 live events by performers from New Zealand and around the world. The aim of the contemporary arts and cultural event is to celebrate what it means to be of Tairawhiti and of New Zealand, say organisers.

The festival will include film, theatre, music, kapa haka, dance and story-telling.

“Anchored in Gisborne, our festival celebrates our whakapapa connections right around the coast, from Potaka to Mohaka,” said director Tama Waipara.

“We will celebrate the first stories of our whenua, and our whakapapa connections across the Pacific. We want people to know who we are and where we come from.”

Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival organisers see the cultural event as an opportunity to celebrate the talent and creativity in this region as providing connection for all New Zealanders, both here and overseas, said Mr Waipara.

“Tairawhiti also boasts the highest number of te reo Maori speakers in the country. My personal journey with te reo Maori is deepened by living in a community where the vibrancy and potency of language flourishes.”

The first show to be announced for the Tairawhiti Arts Festival is a new work by actor and playwright Nancy Brunning, Witi’s Wahine. The play is based on excerpts and characters from Witi Ihimaera stories and focuses on the female characters in Ihimaera stories such as Pounamu, Pounamu; Waituhi; Woman Far Walking; and Whale Rider.

“Wahine Maori are so often dumbed down for the big screen and many have their stories altered or diminished in order to bring the male characters into the spotlight,” said Brunning.

“Our young women need honest role models and support in navigating the complex, raw and real messages they have been given about our wahine Maori. This play is about bringing forward wahine and offering a chance for young women to come face to face with wahine Maori performers presenting a wahine Maori world view.”

The full programme of events in the inaugural Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival will be announced mid-2019.

An arts festival that will take place for the first time in October has announced the first event in its programme.

Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival takes place from October 4 to 20 and promises to deliver more than 70 live events by performers from New Zealand and around the world. The aim of the contemporary arts and cultural event is to celebrate what it means to be of Tairawhiti and of New Zealand, say organisers.

The festival will include film, theatre, music, kapa haka, dance and story-telling.

“Anchored in Gisborne, our festival celebrates our whakapapa connections right around the coast, from Potaka to Mohaka,” said director Tama Waipara.

“We will celebrate the first stories of our whenua, and our whakapapa connections across the Pacific. We want people to know who we are and where we come from.”

Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival organisers see the cultural event as an opportunity to celebrate the talent and creativity in this region as providing connection for all New Zealanders, both here and overseas, said Mr Waipara.

“Tairawhiti also boasts the highest number of te reo Maori speakers in the country. My personal journey with te reo Maori is deepened by living in a community where the vibrancy and potency of language flourishes.”

The first show to be announced for the Tairawhiti Arts Festival is a new work by actor and playwright Nancy Brunning, Witi’s Wahine. The play is based on excerpts and characters from Witi Ihimaera stories and focuses on the female characters in Ihimaera stories such as Pounamu, Pounamu; Waituhi; Woman Far Walking; and Whale Rider.

“Wahine Maori are so often dumbed down for the big screen and many have their stories altered or diminished in order to bring the male characters into the spotlight,” said Brunning.

“Our young women need honest role models and support in navigating the complex, raw and real messages they have been given about our wahine Maori. This play is about bringing forward wahine and offering a chance for young women to come face to face with wahine Maori performers presenting a wahine Maori world view.”

The full programme of events in the inaugural Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival will be announced mid-2019.

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