Following the success of the inaugural Whānui programme in the 2017 Auckland Arts Festival, 2018 sees five projects created by members of Auckland’s many communities, coming to life in March.

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Taking place from East to West and North to South, in Glen Innes, Flat Bush, Albany, Māngere and Blockhouse Bay, and including hundreds of participants, the 2018 Whānui projects aim to bridge generational gaps and offer creative dialogue for Auckland’s diverse communities.

Participants are guided by established artists to create art projects reflecting themes that are unique to each region. The overarching theme in 2018 is inter-generational collaboration.

This year’s projects include a sculpture installation, an outdoor mural preserving the stories of yesterday, a brave new piece of documentary theatre exploring the process of ageing through the eyes of young people, a performance highlighting parallels between traditional Sāmoan oratory customs and contemporary Hip-Hop, and three-days of “artivism” in response to the impact of housing redevelopment in the Tāmaki area.

Auckland Arts Festival Artistic Director, Jonathan Bielski says, “Whānui is an important initiative for us as it not only extends the reach of the festival to hundreds of regional Aucklanders, young people and local communities, but it presents new perspectives and creative opportunities for people from the community to explore issues that directly affect them. 

“This year, the theme of inter-generational collaboration presented itself organically. Evidently, a topic that is important to contemporary New Zealand. It’s exciting for us to see the growth and enthusiasm for Whānui and to showcase of the diversity of voices in communities across Tāmaki Makaurau.”

Whānui is supported by Creative New Zealand and Foundation North through The Auckland Diversity Project Fund, and sponsored by Todd Corporation.

The 2018 projects are:

Imagine the Land
10 & 11 March | 2-6pm | Blockhouse Bay Bowls, 23 Terry Street, Blockhouse Bay
Imagine the Land is an installation of hundreds of clay bowls made from local soil. Lynfield College students work alongside visual artist Ekarasa Doblanovic, collaborating with older people in the neighbourhood.  The process of making the bowls enables everyone to share stories, make memories and bridge perspectives across generations.

From 16 March | Drop by anytime outside of school hours | Upper Harbour North Primary School, 140 Kyle Road, Chester Park, Albany
Tūhono is a Māori word meaning to bond, join and connect. Led by urban contemporary artists Charles & Janine Williams, Upper Harbour North Primary will create a large-scale outdoor mural. Tūhono connects students with the stories of their grandparents and elders, preserving the stories of yesterday for the generations of tomorrow in one visual landscape.

Children Talk About
16 & 17 March | 6pm | Ormiston Junior College Theatre, 285 Ormiston Road, Flat Bush
A brave new documentary project led by theatre-maker Alice Canton, Children Talk About creates space for young people to have courageous conversations about living and ageing. Created by Ormiston Junior College students from research and interviews with people in their community, Children Talk About interweaves complex and curious stories told by the very young about the very old.

Home Fires
21-24 March | times tbc| Fenchurch Street, Glen Innes
Home Fires is curated and facilitated by Tamati Patuwai and Mad Ave. A four-day “artivist” project held in the backyards and open spaces of Glen Innes explores the impact of the housing redevelopment in the Tāmaki area. The project weaves wānanga ritual, arts practice and performance together as tools for healing, resilience and cohesion.

23 & 24 March | 7.30pm | Māngere Arts Centre, Corner Bader Drive & Orly Avenue, Māngere
A groundbreaking live performance led by music and sound producer Anonymouz.  4 THA LUMANA’I finds the parallels between traditional Sāmoan oratory customs and contemporary Hip Hop artforms. Backed by compelling video projection and soundscapes, a cast of local Sāmoan tulāfale orator chiefs join rappers, poets and community performers for a living conversation between the past, present and future.