Carla van Zon, Artistic Director, says haere ra and thank you


CVZ and Natalia

PHOTOGRAPH L to R: Sir David Gascoigne, Natalia Osipova, Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy, Sergei Polunin, Carla van Zon and Gregg Fletcher

The 2017 Auckland Arts Festival has finished. It has been a great year.  Audiences and critics alike have praised shows. It was wonderful to see full-houses on a number of occasions including at the sublime Natalia Osipova & GuestsRESPECTthe fabulous concert starring four exceptional NZ divas, numerous nights of LA SOIRÉE and Cellfish - a small but important work. 

Audiences appreciated much of the home-grown works.The Bone Feeder was a beautiful piece of art that thrilled and moved audiences, while Passio was transformative as people stood in contemplation at the beauty of the sounds. The Festival was proud to have produced these two extraordinary events – both demonstrations of what only a festival can do when it commissions work.

Everyone enjoyed different events – some were equally loved and not liked at all – reinforcing what festivals are all about: artists and audiences taking a risk. So give yourselves a cheer if you tried something new.   

New experiences included The Encounter, which wowed audiences with its sheer brilliance and complexity and which showed us a new way of using art and technology to talk about our world.  While in Revolutions, voices were raised and thoughts provoked. 

Whānui gave us hope for the future through the voices of our children and the community at large creating art works that brought us together.  And Picturing Asia was a big hit – with audiences saying: “it was an incredible exhibition!”, “a stunning show!”, “an amazing exhibition…just mind-blowing”. Someone else told me that Antarctica: while you were sleeping was “pretty close to perfect”.  And there were many more superlative events, moving experiences, hearty laughs and edge-of-your-seat moments.

The artists all praised the Festival team and loved their time here no matter where they were from.  As Sergei said to me “New Zealand is a good country to live”. A big thank you to all of them for bringing their work for us to experience. 

And a big thanks also to all our funders, patrons, sponsors and partners – without you there would not be a festival for so many to enjoy. 

This was my last Auckland Arts Festival – and for me it was a good one. As the Spiegeltent comes down, the artists leave, the office is cleared out, I feel sad that my time at the Festival is over.  But I have loved bringing to Auckland some great shows and exhibitions over the years and have been proud to be a part of a fantastic team that makes the Auckland Arts Festival happen. So signing out …..

Carla van Zon, Artistic Director