Kōanga Festival’s immersive Māori arts experiences

Te Pou Theatre presents Kōanga Festival 2022 in partnership with Auckland Live and Basement Theatre.

Te Pou Theatre’s annual Kōanga Festival celebrates the return of spring by laying the foundations for new Māori storytelling to thrive in Tāmaki Makaurau. From 23 September – 8 October, the festival brings audiences and artists together in a programme brimming with theatre, music, knowledge sharing, free whānau fun and kōrero.

This year’s festival offerings include Ngā Tohu o Te Taiao, on at Basement Theatre from 27 Sept – 1 Oct. This thought provoking, soul-filling and fun live arts experience weaves together stories of kōanga and the maramataka through pūrakau, pūoro and toi onepū. Building our connection to the tohu of the natural world and celebrating the change in season, experience mātauranga Māori with master storyteller, mental health advocate and funeral director Rikki Solomon (Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Kahu ki Whangaroa), live sand art from The Sandman Marcus Winter (Te Roroa, Ngāpuhi) and Grammy award-winning featured solo artist Pūoro Jerome (Mokai Patea, Maniapoto, Ngāti Kahungunu) with taonga pūoro.

The whole whānau can also immerse themselves in storytelling on 8 Oct with Active Whakapapa. A free school holiday experience suitable for all from tamariki to kaumātua, whānau will be provided headphones to listen to fun and cheeky bilingual and rūmaki reo kaupapa Māori stories written by Tainui Tukiwhao (Tūhoe, Te Arawa). Cultivating curious minds both young and old, this journey through Henderson Park will connect audiences with the local area on a gentle hīkoi. Presented with Healthy Families Waitākere.

At the centre of Kōanga is the annual Playwrights’ Programme play readings, with emerging and established playwrights presenting newly developed as part of the festival for the first time at Basement Theatre, including Pōraru, The Sun and The Wind & The Handlers and Pākehā Skin, Māori Blood & Still Friends.

The festival opens with He Puāwaitanga at Te Pou’s new digital theatre Whare Whakaari Matihiko, delving into the kaupapa of the festival with this year’s writers and artists. Also at Basement is Kōpū – Our Kōrero sharing story, song and some real talk, and at The Civic’s Wintergarden, musical theatre superstar Rutene Spooner (Ngāti Porou, Ngaruahine) performs Thoroughly Modern Māui.

For the full programme and to book tickets visit the festival website.

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