2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts relaunches a revised programme 


The 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts has relaunched a revised programme to focus on outdoor whānau-friendly art, visual arts and digital sessions showcasing spectacular chamber music and extraordinary conversations with local and international writers.

This new digital platform allows audiences to experience great art from wherever they are. The Covid-19 restrictions under the Red level have made it impossible to deliver the full programme as planned, so the Festival made the decision last week to continue safely with a revised programme while still championing the work of New Zealand artists, writers and musicians.

Kura Moana is a new work by Festival Artist in Focus, Lisa Reihana MNZM, consisting of six outdoor installations featuring music, playful inflatable sculptures and augmented reality. Kura Moana, was created as a gift to Pōneke and aims to uplift the people and communities of Wellington at a time where this is needed more than ever.

Director Ngā Toi Māori Mere Boynton, says “We are delighted to be sharing Kura Moana with the people of Pōneke. Lisa Reihana’s work has been created to give back to the city, and to bring joy to those who encounter the installations.

Kura Moana is set to bring the waterfront alive and lift the wairua of Wellingtonians at this difficult and uncertain time. “This outdoor family-friendly work will run for three weeks from 25 February, allowing whānau to enjoy the experience safely at their own pace.” Online events will be running for more than 30 writers’ talks, classical music and other performances available for anyone to watch on any device, anywhere. 

Online events can be accessed as streamed recordings via the Festival website – they can be pre-ordered from today or accessed for streaming on dates throughout the Festival until 3 April 2022.

The online events are available on a “pay what you can” basis, the full schedule of the online programme is on the Festival website. 

Artistic Directors of the Adam Chamber Music Festival and members of the New Zealand String Quartet, Helene Pohl MNZM and Gillian Ansell MNZM, have carefully crafted a series of spectacular music for small ensembles especially for the Festival. Rarely performed, each programme is bespoke and special.

Together, the five performances within the Chamber Music Series traverse the delicate to monumental across the chamber music realm. Creative Director Marnie Karmelita says, “We planned for the possibility of the pandemic impacting our ability to showcase live art, and we are thrilled to be able to still offer these wonderfully intimate recordings of five concerts within the Chamber Music Series.”


The digital writers’ events feature extraordinary conversations with international and local talent, bringing the world of ideas and imagination to audiences anywhere in the world.

Themes range from contemporary retelling of pūrākau Māori, the contemporary value of Mātauranga Māori today, to prize-winning autofiction, writing on the intersection of art, psychology, the joy of gardening, and much more.

Writers Programme Manager Claire Mabey says, “Bringing this programme of incredible writers online allows us to celebrate and share these engaging conversations even further afield. It’s exciting to know our audiences can engage with and enjoy this curated Festival content, and feel connected no matter where they are in the world.” 

Te Ahu Taiohi is the result of five weeks of deep creative exploration of self, culture and identity by rangatira taiohi (young leaders) in Porirua.

Sharing their ideas, dreams and experiences, this is set to be an electrifying performance of movement and storytelling that will leave audiences reflective and inspired. Te Ahu Taiohi will be digitally presented and available to view on demand.

All gallery and museum exhibitions will continue to take place, including Nomads of the Sea at Pātaka Art + Museum as part of Lisa Reihana’s series, Hilma af Klint: The Secret Paintings at City Gallery Wellington, and Threads Textiles Festival at various locations across the Wellington region. 

The Festival’s hit intergalactic adventure experience Destination Mars by Hackman continues at Te Papa under the Red settings. Mayor of Wellington Andy Foster says, “It’s inspiring to see the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts persevere with an incredible programme of artists, writers and performers.

The Festival always brings such vibrancy and creativity to the Capital and now with the digital aspect, these wonderful events can be shared with everyone across Aotearoa.” The updated programme for the 2022 Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts runs from 21 February – 20 March. 

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