Multi-talented Wellington artist Moana Ete knows how to keep busy. Wellington born and raised, Moana is of Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Wheke, Rāpaki and Savai’i, Samoa, Falealupo, Lalomalava. Nurturing a creative background that spans theatre, film and music, Moana is drawing from this rich foundation to curate the Pūtahi Festival 2016 – a performance platform created to enable more opportunities for Māori and Pasifika writers, directors, musicians, dancers, designers, actors and companies to develop and nurture new work in central Wellington.
‘The more that I work across all these industries, the more I get to work with people that I genuinely admire and have followed for some time. I try hard not to fangirl too much but my commitment to theatre and film and music is fuelled by a genuine love for the artists who make it. Whether they’re established or upcoming or completely underground: if it’s daring and never been done before I’m easily drawn to it. So I’m incredibly proud of work that is being made in this city.’
Moana is convinced that Pūtahi Festival can reveal a side of Wellington never seen before. ‘I think so yes. It’s the in between. Not quite a finished production but it is but it isn’t. The shows are only the beginning of the conversation, not the conversation in itself. I think Pūtahi asks a bit more from the audience. This year we’re working side by side with the team from Kava Club who, you’ll know if you’ve been to one of their Chop Suey Hui, allow us to be so at ease that we share and exchange freely.’
The festival presents artists and their work-in-development, in stages, in showings and in conversation. Featuring new work by Waylon Edwards & William Duignan, Te Hau Winitana & Aroha Pokai, Manuel Solomon, Patrick Godinet & Daphne Seyb and Miria George. Pūtahi Festival includes the Chop Suey Hui hosted by KAVA CLUB.
In 2016, the festival is produced by Tawata Productions and features companies and artists who are collaborating with Pūtahi for the very first time as well as featuring returning collaborators. ‘My bff Phaedra introduced me to Daphne Seyb and Patrick Godinet. And all these years later I got in touch with them to present a dance show at the Festival. You know, when an art form like Hip Hop Dance gets to the marvellously preposterous level that it has in this country, I am inspired by crews who still pursue a lifestyle in dance in NZ because they love to dance! I think there is a lot that can be drawn from that. Competition and comparison is rife in this industry and Pūtahi is an open door for creativity and experimentation. This is where it all has value and all has potential. Anyways, this year there’s also the most unexpectedly controversial couple of writers you’ll ever meet in your life Waylon Edwards and William Duignan. I invited them on to put up a reading of their latest Musical because they write heartfelt narratives with a distinctive Kiwi sense of humour and ‘vibe’. The beautiful melodies they create and the way they challenge and question what we already think we know as a generation is so pure and sincere that it makes me want to cry. Oh, there’s so much more goodness to mention! But for now, again, I’m just so proud to present it all.
Celebrating it’s 3rd year presenting new work in Wellington, Pūtahi Festival is showing at Studio 77 at 77 Fairlie Terrace, Kelburn, from Tuesday February 9 to Saturday February 13. The festival is a unique partnership between the Theatre Programme at Victoria University, Wellington and the city’s professional Māori theatre collective Te Pūtahitanga-a-te-rehia. Te Pūtahitanga-a-te-rehia includes Wellington based Māori theatre companies, Tikapa Productions, Te Rakau Hua o te Wao Tapu Trust, Taki Rua Productions, Hāpai Productions, Tawata Productions, as well as many independent actors, writers and directors. As a creative alliance, Te Pūtahitanga-a-te-rehia have been able to partner in the presentation of new theatre in Wellington, as well as ongoing advocacy for more resources for the city’s Māori theatre industry – including the establishment of a purpose built home for Māori theatre.
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