Auckland Arts Festival’s Whānui programme will once again celebrate Tāmaki Makaurau and its creative neighbourhoods through a series of creative projects unique to our diverse region.

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Now in its third year, Whānui is a collection of participatory arts projects in which members of communities are guided by established artists to collaborate and make art relevant to the people and localities in which they live.

This year, Whānui will be further enriched by Māori language through Toitū Te Reo, a new overarching initiative launched this year, which expresses Auckland Arts Festival's commitment to te reo Māori.

Translated as “holding fast to our language”, Toitū Te Reo is AAF’s renewed commitment to championing the normalisation of te reo Māori through the platform of the arts and includes a mahi tahi (partnership) with Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission).

Whānui projects for 2019 include the live carving of a majestic pou, a locally-devised theatre work in which the kōrero of Waitākere are shared through song and theatrical storytelling, and a celebration of cross-cultural and intergenerational ties within the Chinese and Sāmoan communities through pepeha – a way of introducing yourself in Māori, which explains who you are by sharing your connections with the people and places that are important to you.

Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, Jonathan Bielski says, “Now in its third year, Whānui has fast become a Festival highlight.

“Our role as an organisation is not only to host art and art-makers from outside of Tāmaki Makaurau, but to offer a platform for art to be made by our diverse communities, for our diverse communities. In 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Whānui will connect the whenua through te reo Māori, offering Aucklanders a deeper understanding of the land on which we stand.”

The 2019 Whānui projects are:

Project Pepeha
Saturday 9 March | Māngere Town Centre Courtyard (next to the Library)
Screenings: 11-24 March at participating Auckland Libraries
Celebrating cultural and intergenerational ties, this cross-cultural collaboration brings te reo Māori to Chinese and Sāmoan elderly communities through their native mother tongues. Participants will learn, engage with and share their pepeha and their journey will be documented and facilitated by filmmakers Kayne Ngatokowhā Peters and Julie Zhu. Short films will be presented as part of the project and also shown throughout Auckland.

Ngā Herenga Waka

14-22 March 1.00pm - 4.00pm | Waikowhai Intermediate School Library, 650 Richardson Rd, Mt Roskill
Ngā Herenga Waka, meaning “the binding of canoe,” is a celebration of all ages and cultures in Mount Roskill. The live carving of a large community pou will be influenced by design workshops held within the local neighbourhood, connecting the creativity and diversity of one of the most multi-cultural suburbs of Auckland. Uniting and representing symbols from the 120 different ethnicities in the Mount Roskill area, this unique work of art will be carved at Waikowhai Intermediate School and then shown at various locations around the region.

He Mokopuna He Tūpuna
Saturday 23 March | Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre
Elders and children of Waitākere share the kōrero of Waitākere through the magic of song, storytelling and theatre. Devised with the community in collaboration with Te Pou Theatre, this fun-filled whānau theatre work shares stories of the whenua where they live, work and play.