Posts Tagged ‘contemporary dance’

Okareka Dance Company present their new production Tama Ma, at the Maidment Theatre, June 24th – 28th 2009.

Tama Ma features two of New Zealand’s most acclaimed contemporary dancers Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal. Tama Ma premiered at Tempo Dance Festival in 2008 to sell out crowds and rave reviews. Now due to popular demand they are taking their award winning show to audiences all around New Zealand.

Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal performed for Ka Mau te Wehi – conversations in Maori dance on its opening night and I can unhesitatingly recommened that you make a point of going to their show.



Okareka Dance Company is a vibrant contemporary New Zealand dance company formed in 2007 and led by Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal with the aim to fuse contemporary dance with other creative art mediums.

The essence of Okareka Dance Company is guided by Maori beliefs, these beliefs – Mana (Honour and Integrity), Whanau (Family) and Matataki (Challenge) are brought to its work and to its audiences.


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The opening began with a beautiful and powerful performance by Tai Royal and Taane Mete


Then Welby Ings, Associate Professor at the School of Art and Design welcomed us and introduced the curator Moana Nepia.


Moana Nepia spoke about his the show and thanked all the people who helped him make it happen.



Later in the evening Tru Paraha and Nancy Wijohn performed in response to the works.



Photographs taken by Clinton Cardozo

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We are excited to confirm the performers for the opening night: Tai Royal and Taane Mete, Tru Paraha, Nancy Wijohn and Poto Stevens Dunn. They have been visiting the gallery and planning some wonderful responses and conversations in dance. I went online and found some links to their biographies. Those of you who are regulars on the New Zealand dance scene will know these talented performers already. Be sure to turn up on the 4th of June between 5:30 and 7:30 to catch their performances during the evening

Tai Royal



Taiaroa Royal is one of New Zealand’s leading Maori dancers. Tai has worked with all of the major dance companies in NZ including the Royal NZ Ballet, Douglas Wright Dance Co., Human Garden, Origins Dance Co., Commotion Dance Company and as a senior dancer with Black Grace Dance Company from 1996 – 2004. A 1984 graduate of the NZ School of Dance, he has also competed in competitive aerobics and has represented NZ at the World Aerobics Champs in San Diego.

Tai enjoys his many roles as teacher, choreographer, dancer and now as director, along-side Taane Mete, of their newly formed Okareka Dance Company Ltd. They recently premiered their Company’s debut work – Tama Ma to sell-out audiences under the Tempo and Stamp Festival umbrellas.




Taane Mete is considered one of New Zealand’s most outstanding and versatile dancers. After graduating with honours from the NZ School of Dance in 1988, his 21 years of experience has seen him perform with companies such as Footnote Dance Company, Fusion Dance Theatre, Taiao Dance Company, Michael Parmenters (Commotion Company), Douglas Wright Dance Company, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, and Human Garden Dance Company. Taane was a founding member and a senior dancer for Black Grace Dance Company.

Taane also works as a choreographer and dance tutor at UNITEC Performing Arts, The New Zealand School of Dance & Douglas Wright Dance Company. Taane has toured nationally and internationally with various companies.

In July 2007 alongside Taiaroa Royal and Ann Dewey, Taane choreographed “Renu O Te Ra” a youth dance project performance with THE EDGE Performing Arts Centre, Auckland. The work gave new light to the direction Taane wished to lead and drew a strong sense of purpose to the collaboration and joint company between Taane and Taiaroa Royal ‘Okareka’.

Nancy Wijohn



Nancy is a fresh and new face to New Zealand’s contemporary dance industry. She graduated from AUT’s Maori contemporary dance certificate in 2003 and UNITEC’s Contemporary dance degree in 2007, and since then has gone on to work for two of New Zealand’s finest contemporary dance companies — Black Grace Dance Company and Atamira Maori dance collective.

She performed exerpts of Black Grace’s new work Gathering Clouds as part of Manukau Festival 08 and has also worked with Mika’s Torotoro nesian dance crew, Jack Gray Dance in Tuawhenua, Kirk Torrance’s Flintlock Musket production, Charles Royal and Moana Nepia’s dance film project09.

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Curated by Moana Nepia

St Paul Street Gallery, AUT, Auckland. June 4-21, 2009

Opening June 4, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Performances on the opening night will include: Tai Royal and Taane Mete, Tru Paraha, Nancy Wijohn, and Poto Stevens Dunn

Tru Paraha in Mareikura  - Messengers of Io (2008). Photographer  Terri Ripeka Crawford.Unidentified Maori group with poi, performing at the unveiling of the Tasman Memorial at Tarakohe, during the Tasman tercentennial celebrations (1942) Photographer John Dorbee Pascoe. Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library.

Ka  Mau te Wehi – conversations in Maori dance examines Maori dance as art-form, entertainment and cultural identity, through a juxtaposition of archival and contemporary imagery. The exhibition is a striking celebration of the dynamic force felt through movement in performance while also bearing testimony to the artists, photographers, film and documentary makers whose creative efforts help inform us who we are as New Zealanders.

From some of the earliest drawings and prints of haka, to photographs and video of Maori contemporary dance, this exhibition draws together moving and still images from private collections and public institutions including the Hocken Collections, University of Otago, the New Zealand Film Archive, Archives New Zealand, the National Library of New Zealand and the Alexander Turnbull Library.

The exhibition begins with a documentary video where over thirty participants discuss ideas of Maori dance, created by curator, visual artist and choreographer, Moana Nepia. This video initiates a conversation that is continued in the exhibition through drawing taonga together. These taonga include prints by Augustus Earle and Joseph Jenner Merrett that represent early European encounters with Maori dance and photographs of haka from King Tawhiao’s funeral and Parihaka in the 1890’s  that evoke narratives of resistance and solemn moments in our colonial history. Rare silent footage of poi rehearsals and string games from Te Hui Aroha ki Turanga (1919) will also be on display. This footage is all that remains on film of a hui in Gisborne to commemorate the return of the Pioneer Maori battalion from the First World War. Striking a more contemporary note, familiar and much loved images of Maori moving and grooving by photographer Ans Westra are included alongside other images from private collections. And photographs of the Atamira Dance Collective performing Moss Patterson’s harrowing theatre dance work Whakairo reveal Maori engagement with contemporary dance.

The exhibition will open with responses from an exciting line up of performers including Tai Royal and Taane Mete, Tru Paraha, Nancy Wijohn, and Poto Stevens Dunn on the first night. Following this a series of lunchtime gallery talks will explore different aspects of the exhibition.  Presenters include John B Turner, senior lecturer and photographer, Elam School of Fine Arts; Charles Koroneho, lecturer and performance artist, Unitec; Natalie Robertson, lecturer, photographer, AUT University; Stephen Bradshaw, choreographer and arts administrator; Alex Monteith, lecturer, photographer and video artist, Elam School of Fine Arts; Moata MacNamara, performer and PhD candidate in Art and Design AUT; and Atamira Dance Collective.

A more detailed programme of events will be updated regularly this blogsite created specifically for this exhibition.

This exhibition at St Paul Street Gallery is one of the outcomes of a research project led by Moana Nepia, funded by Nga Pae o te Maramatanga and hosted at Te Ara Poutama, AUT.

photo credits

Tru Paraha in Mareikura  – Messengers of Io (2008). Photographer  Terri Ripeka Crawford.

Unidentified Maori group with poi, performing at the unveiling of the Tasman Memorial at Tarakohe, during the Tasman tercentennial celebrations (1942) Photographer John Dorbee Pascoe. Courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library.

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