Trustpower presents The Performance Arcade 2022


Opening next month, The Performance Arcade is a beloved free, award-winning summer festival that celebrates artists, live art, music and performances, delighting audiences with contemporary art and performance on the waterfront – outside the constraints of gallery or theatre spaces. 

The Performance Arcade 2022 full programme is out now with 15 Performance Art experiences, a Fortune Favours Music Series with over 40 performances + a pop-up bar, various food truck and beverage options, and spontaneous explosions of art over two exciting weekends on Te Whanganui-a-Tara,  17-27 February. 

New for the eleventh Arcade the structural layout pays homage to pre-colonial hakari structures that were used to host hapū from across the motu with feasting, kōrero, and performance. Based on this model, The Performance Arcade is creating a unique space for audiences and artists to come together through a raranga of action and interaction.

To help us with this ongoing kaupapa we are very lucky to be working with Warren Maxwell (Southside of Bombay, Trinity Roots, Little Bushman & ex. Fat Freddys Drop) as our opening guest and respondent to the themes being explored this year. His sonic installation Kia Tūhono explores narratives and sounds on ‘Koro’ – an ancient log procured from Wairarapa Moana, which will be performed by Maxwell at the Arcade opening event.

“I am super excited to perform at The Performance Arcade this year and I feel very honoured to have been asked,” Maxwell says. “Living in Featherston for fifteen years, I have been reminded of the symbiotic relationship between ‘us’ and the elements. The recent obsessive works I’ve created are ironically pragmatic by design, but offer humble intentions to weave and deepen participant connection with Te Taiao.


We have witnessed emotional efficacy with participants; a nostalgic sway via the ‘voices’ of these ancient Rakau. In this time, I have started to reconnect with Ātua… and am very excited to share these recent connections with The Performance Arcade 2022.” 

In curating The Performance Arcade 2022 live art programme Associate Director, Graham Frost, has purposefully reflected on pertinent global themes, saying; 

“Ecological responsibility, personal and cultural hauora and the navigating of real, digital and utopian spaces are the prescient themes running through the 2022 Arcade programme. Warren Maxwell’s Kia Tūhono and Dannii Kellett & Knot Theatre’s Regeneration ask us to reconnect with Te Taiao (the natural world). Release the Ether from Dominion, by Rushi Vyas and Zak Argabrite considers how we relate to the digital refuse which shapes our reality. Meanwhile, Inside Arcadia by Malcolm Doige, and Waiting Room by Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris reflect on the legacy of pandemics.” 

Frost adds, “The Performance Arcade offers a unique space for audiences and artworks to come together in new and exciting ways to explore these important themes.” 

Pōneke based artist, scenographer, and performance designer Dannii Kellett has created Regeneration, a container of unfettered nature, inspired by the abundance of NZ flora that flourished during lockdown. 

“COVID showed us that pausing, even for a moment, gives the environment a chance to ‘breathe’ and without us it can begin to regenerate and repair.” says Kellett. “In Regeneration I am provoking the idea that when we are all locked away, only then do we take notice of its strength. When nature inhabits an environment which is designed to ruin it, what does that make us feel? Is it the impact of generations of guilt, or are we so struck by its beauty that it provokes a change in the way we think?” 

Whereas spoken word poet and art-pop musician, Miss Leading takes on commercialism of the arts via Poetry Bistro, an intimate word-dining experience co-created with Rose Northey. 

“How does the commodification of art impact the way it is made, presented, consumed and priced? To answer, we conceived the Poetry Bistro, where guests are welcome to enjoy art through an exclusive dining experience with the freshest ethically-sourced, fair trade words. Our menu prices vary based on number of words, poet’s qualifications, mood, life trauma, and weather!” 

The Performance Arcade is free entry, family-friendly, accessible and the perfect date night or sunny summer hang with friends – there is something for everyone at Te Whanganui-a-Tara / behind Te Papa, 17-27 February.

Check out the programme today.

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