The whāriki (foundations) of the ahurei (festival) have been woven together by the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), Te Tatau o Te Arawa, Steambox Films and Rotorua Lakes Council with support from a number of Rotorua organisations.
Festival chair, Eraia Kiel (Te Arawa), who is also the general manager at NZMACI, says Te Arawa has a huge pool of talent.
“It’s humbling to know how many Te Arawa trailblazers Rotorua has in the arts, people who are regularly showcasing their talents across the world. Aronui is a reflection of the world’s awakening to indigenous power – for us, as Māori, knowledge is hidden in arts and culture,” he says.
He says Aronui builds on NZMACI’s vision of supporting indigenous cultures and hopes it will encourage other native artists from abroad to come to Rotorua.
Dance and kapa haka practitioner, Rosie Belvie (Te Arawa), will launch the Aronui arts festival with her original performance art piece ‘Ko Rangi, Ko Papa’ alongside Atamira Dance Company regular and Ōhinemutu Pā boy, Matiu Hamuera.
“It will bring the world closer together, helping us to realise the similarities of all cultures as well as giving us an opportunity to embrace our differences. We aren’t completely different. It will show us that we have the same values,” she says.
Aronui Arts Festival director, Cian Elyse White (Te Arawa, Ngāti Pikiao), says mahi toi is a powerful vehicle for indigenous storytellers, with boundless potential for exploring our voice on social issues.
“This is an opportunity for our world class local, national and eventually international indigenous talent to come together and celebrate each other in a boldly indigenous space. Te Arawa looks forward to hosting our other indigenous brothers and sisters from different rohe around the motu (New Zealand), as we share and inspire our wider community and each other thanks to this month-long festival which celebrates our art, reo, people and stories.’’
The Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival will showcase a diverse range of art forms including Theatre, Te Reo Māori, Music, Writing, Visual and Traditional Art as well as film. It also supports Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori in the second week of September.
Click on the button below to see the event programme details via www.aronuiartsfestival.com