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1 Taranaki Street, Wellington | Box Office Ph: 04 801 7992
Duration: 21 - 25 June 2016
Location: Run Time 70 Minutes
Price: $46 - $25
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An Okareka Dance Company production
Directed By Taane Mete, Taiaroa Royal, Malia Johnston
Part of the Kia Mau Festival 2016


Celebrate powerful women with this all-female dance work that draws strength from traditional Maori mythology.

Okareka Dance Company. Kelly Nash production photo

Okareka Dance Company. Kelly Nash production photo

Three of New Zealand’s best choreographers combine dance, theatre and film in this powerful performance. Inspired by the true story of Te Aokapurangi, a young maiden from Mokoia Island who single-handedly saved her people from slaughter, this collage of imagery and movement transcends time and space.

From the stunning opening to the spine-tingling finale, be inspired by this display of courage, determination and fearlessness as Mana Wahine evokes the spiritual status of “the woman” within us all.

  • Tuesday 21 June 6.30pm
    Wednesday 22 June 6.30pm
    Thursday 23 June 8pm
    Friday 24 June 8pm and extra schools show 1pm
    Saturday 25 June 8pm and extra Matinee 2pm

    Runtime: 70 mins with no interval. No late admissions.

  • After the shows on Tuesday and Thursday nights and the matinee on Saturday there will be a Q&A with the dancers and creators of Mana Wahine. Stick around to pick the brains of this extremely creative company!

  • $46 – Adult
    $38 – Seniors & Students
    $25 – Under 25s
    $39 – Groups of 6+
    $36 – Groups of 20+

    Te Arawa, Kai Tahu, Ngati Rauwaka, Uenukukopako

    Tai royal

    Taiaroa trained at the New Zealand School of Dance, graduating in 1984. He has since performed with major dance companies both at home and abroad, including The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Douglas Wright, Michael Parmenter’s Commotion Dance Company, Black Grace, Orotokare and Atamira Dance Company. Tai has successfully choreographed many high profile events across Australasia including the Brancott Estate World of Wearable Arts Awards in Wellington, Auckland’s Christmas in the Park and over the past 3 years has choreographed operas for NZ Opera. Tai is also part of the teaching faculty at the UNITEC Bachelor of Performing Screen Arts, and has taught at The New Zealand School of Dance as well as many private dance schools.

    Ngati Kahungungu me Ngati Koroki

    taane mete

    Taane Mete graduated with honors from the New Zealand School of Dance in 1988. His performing experience has seen him dance with companies such as Footnote Dance Company, Douglas Wright Dance Company, Taiao Dance Company, Fusion Dance Theatre, Michael Parmenter’s Commotion Dance Company, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Human Garden Dance Company, Mau Dance Company and Atamira Dance Collective. In 2005 and 2006 Taane worked as a television presenter for the program Takataapui. Taane graduated from the Leadership New Zealand Program in 2008 and continues to advocate a leadership role in the dance community. Now into his 30th year as a performer Taane continues to develop exciting new projects for the company repertoire.


    malia johnston

    Malia Johnston is the director of Rifleman Productions and develops her own collaborations with other artists. Malia’s major dance theatre works are choreographed in conjunction with theatre director Dr Emma Willis including Amanimal , Dark Tourists and body, fight, time all performed in Wellington and Auckland.  Malia’s dance pieces are collaborative with design teams and performers. Since 2002 Malia is also the Artistic Director and principal choreographer for New Zealand’s World of Wearable Art Awards Show as well as Choreographer and Stage Director. She is a guest choreographer at the New Zealand School of Dance and regularly creates new works for their Graduation performance. Malia has a significant dance and choreographic history with Touch Compass Dance Company and Footnote Dance Co, creating works since 2000.  Malia has worked with Tai and Tane over the past 9 years as dancers and guest choreographers for WOW and is very passionate and excited about the upcoming co-authorship model for Mana Wahine.


    TuiKo Tui Matira Ranapiri-Ransfield tōku ingoa. Ko ahau te Ariki Tapairu me te Kuikui o te whakaari Mana Wahine i raro i te mana o Ōkareka Dance Company.

    “I rere iho ai au i a Papatūānuku, i a Hinehauone, i a Hinetīmata…., i a Kuraimonoa, i a Mākuratawhiti, i a Kūotepō, i a Hamoterangi, i a Whakaotirangi, i a Kōriko, i a Muriwhenua, i a Iwirau, i a Muriwai, i a Te Moana Kuia, i a Ihuparapara, i a Iwipūpū, i a Irena Pareraukawakawa Hokimā,  i a Tini Paana, i a Hine-nui-te-pō….”

    I am the epitome quintessence of these goddesses, deities and ancestresses, within my inner being I have inherited their mana wahine, their mana tangata, their mauri mareikura, their wairuatanga!

    I have lived a life full of abundance and wealth! I am the love-child and first born of my dearest parents. I am the eldest of seven, five girls and two boys.  I was raised on good values, good morals, practices and a rich whānau, hapū culture.  I am blessed to have been reared by many female exemplars.  All who were and are wāhine rangatira and āriki tapairu! Their characters’ powerful, staunch, proud, intellectual and cultured. It all began with my conception and birth from my beautiful, influential, empowering Mother, Sweetheart, Pal and Mum, my loving nurturing elegant Nana, my loving kind humble Taua, my generous, lavish, unstinting Aunty and my many sagacious, inspiring Kuia, Hākui, Ruruhi, Taua, Nana, Ruahine, Aunties, cousins, sisters, nieces, mokopuna and friends who have unconditionally mentored and loved me.

    These learned women taught me compassion, respect, love, discipline, integrity, gentleness and kindness.  They cultivated my mother culture in me, hospitality and caring for others, exposure and appreciation for most music, dance and the arts, instrumental in my education pursuits, supportive in my sporting recreational activities, guidance in enlightenment and spirituality knowledge and practice…. they were stupendous role models and excellent people, who fashioned and fed my whole being…., their greatness always awe-inspiring I will forever cherish and treasure….

    I descend from a long line of illustrious, exceptional, strong, skilled women.

    My MANA WAHINE, MANA MAREIKURA, MANA TAPAIRU ARIKI I inherited from them, I live and breathe! The magnitude and enormity of my gratitude and appreciation to them all, is infinite!  It is their heights and legacies I aspire to!  “I heke iho tōku mana mareikura i a rātou mā…., ko Papatūānuku tōku mana e, ko Hine-nui-te-pō tōku mana e…, ko Rosaline Ngāpire tōku mana e, i heke tika tonu mai ki a ahau…”



    Victoria Kelly is an award winning composer and musician. Her contemporary classical music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by many of New Zealand’s leading performers and ensembles including NZTrio, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the New Zealand String Quartet, Stroma and Michael Houstoun. For her work in film and television, she has received numerous nominations and won two New Zealand Screen Awards.

    Her film work includes scores for ‘Black Sheep’ and ‘Under the Mountain’ by Jonathan King (for whom she his currently scoring a new film) and ‘Out of the Blue’ by Robert Sarkies. She collaborated as an arranger and orchestrator on ‘The Lovely Bones’ with Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson. Recent television work includes the score for ‘Field Punishment No.1′ directed by Peter Burger, and all three series of ‘The Almighty Johnsons’ (which she co-composed with Sean Donnelly).

    Victoria has collaborated with some of New Zealand’s most renowned artists including Neil Finn, SJD, Don McGlashan, Anika Moa and Shapeshifter. Last year she worked closely with Neil Finn, orchestrating songs for his solo album ‘Dizzy Heights’ and in November she joined him on tour to the US and England. Currently, she plays in SJD’s live band and in The Bellbirds with Sandy Mill, Sean Donnelly and Don McGlashan.

    Victoria completed her Bachelor of Music in 1993 and while pursuing further study, she developed a passion for writing film music. After winning a TVNZ Young Achievers Award and a Professional Development Grant from Creative New Zealand in 1996, Victoria traveled to the United States to study film composition at the University of Southern California, with teachers including Elmer Bernstein, Leonard Rosenman and Christopher Young. Victoria has worked with directors such as Scott Reynolds, Vanessa Alexander and Harry Sinclair. She has written commissions for the Turnovsky Trio and Stroma, and her recent Piano Trio ‘Sono’ has been recorded by the New Zealand Trio.

    In 2011, Victoria was the Music Director for the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, which saw her working with more than 1200 performers, musicians and volunteers.The ceremony was broadcast live to an estimated audience of 1 billion people.

    “Piece by piece, the music came together. Some music, I wrote in response to conversations I had with Tai, Taane and Malia. They would then put the music to the dancers and respond with movement, gestures or directions. I would respond again to what I saw – and the process continued in that way. Other music, I was inspired to write purely from having seen particular movements or gestures to begin with – and so the feedback loop started from that point. The music evolved as a constant series of responses that looped back into themselves and re-emerged, transformed.”


    TraceyTracey designs for Theatre, Live Event, Film and TV. Designing over 200 productions for theatre. Some favourite productions include- for Inside Out Productions; The Holy Sinner, This is it, Spectacle of One, Louis Vuitton Cup Party Events. For the NZ Actors Company; Midsummer Nights Dream, A Way of Life, and Leah. Viva Verdi for NBR NZ Opera. Assassins’ the Musical, Into the Woods, The Hungry City, Pinocchio for the Watershed Company. For Massive Company, Alice in Cyberspace, Still Speeding, and Sons of Charlie Paora, and Alice in Wonderland, for the Aotea Centre. For ATC she has designed Horseplay, The Twits, The Little Shop Of Horrors, and Lord Of The Flies. The is Tracey’s second design for contemporary dance.

    Design for Film and TV include- Costume Design for Maddigans Quest. Production Design for- Piece of My Heart, Diplomatic Immunity, Bliss- The Beginnings of Katherine Mansfield, This NOT My Life, Billy, Waitangi- What Really Happened, and Sione’s: Unfinished Business, and White Lies. Tracey has  received NZ Screen Awards for her designs for- Maddigans Quest 2007, Piece of My Heart 2009, This is NOT My Life 2011 and White Lies 2013. Most recently Tracey costume designed When We Go To War, a new drama series that will screen during the WW1 Centenary next year.

    Tracey has been a Co-Curator and Designer for NZ Exhibits at the Prague Quadrennial of Scenography- In 2003 PART the exhibit received a Special Honorary Award. In 2007 the BLOW installation featured the work of 13 prominent NZ performance designers, and also received the award for audience popularity. The 2011 FLY TOWER installation expanded to feature live performance within the design installation.



    Elizabeth has designed costumes for The NBR New Zealand Opera, Auckland Theatre Company, The Silo, Court Theatre, Red Leap and Okareka Dance, Black Grace, Douglas Wright Dance, Michael Parmenter, Atimira and Shona McCullagh and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. She designed costumes for Pop-Up Theatre in London, which was performed at the Edinburgh Festival. Opera design credits include Faust, Carmen, La Bohème (twice), Falstaff, Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro (twice), Così Fan Tutte (NZO) and she designed Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci for the Opera 2011 winter season and is designing Acis and Galatea, and Don Giovanni in 2013. Theatre design credits include In the Next Room, Mary Stuart, Well Hung, Equus, Cabaret, Into the Woods, Sweet Charity, Hair, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Duchess of Malfi, Pillow Man, My Name Is Gary Cooper The Importance of Being Earnest (ATC); The Country Wife, La Cage aux Folles, The Great Gatsby and Cabaret for Court Theatre Tartuffe, Top Girls, Three Days of Rain, Irma Vep, The Scene, Holding the Man, When the Rain Stops Falling, Assassins, and Tartuffe (The Silo) She designed The Glass Menagerie and Anne Boleyn in 2013.



    Originally from Montreal Vanda has been living and working in New Zealand since 1999. Her design work covers theatre, dance, television, fashion, and music during time spent living in North America and the U.K as well as New Zealand spanning 30 years . 10 years with the Atamira Dance Company produced designs for the award winning NgaiTahu 32 and Taonga as well as Memoirs of Active Service, Te Houhi and the popular Kaha series. Most recently designing for Red Leap Theatre’s SEA she had the opportunity to cement her love of the ocean into her work. Other work includes ongoing design projects with the Auckland Philharmonia and Trash to Fashion plus production work on music projects with Tihi Productions. Vanda also works for the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park and is an active lifeguard at Piha beach. Accomplishments this year are National Open Womens Champions for Dragon Boating and female lifeguard of the year for the Piha SLSC. She is the proud mother of 3 talented children.



    Rowan is a Wellington based multimedia designer and artist. He produces and exhibits work both collaboratively and individually, across a range of mediums including live dance, theatre, music, and installation often with an emphasis on the orchestration of live performance and the projected video image. Notable projects Rowan has worked on in the role of multimedia designer include: The Playground NZ Ltds’ Sleep Wake (2009, performed at the Auckland International Festival of the Arts and winner of The Designer’s Institute of NZ Best Awards: GOLD 2009), Rifleman Productions’ Body Fight Time (2011) and Amanimal (2013), and Miranda and Kate Harcourt’s Flowers from my Mothers Garden (2012). He has directed various successful film projects and music videos including Quarters, selected for the New Zealand International Film festival 2010. Rowan graduated in 2010 from Massey University and Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School’s joint degree in Performance Design.



    Trained as a dancer and an also as a director in film and television, Rachael Penman has been a producer of theatre and dance since 1992. Working with NZ’s dance royalty MJ O Reilly, Douglas Wright, Shona McCullagh, and Neil Ieremia she worked as a stage manager, production manager and a producer. Rachael spent 5 years in London as a producer for West End Musical Theatre, with Bill Kenwright, and with her own theatre in the West End. She also advised for theatre companies around Europe. In 2005, Rachael came back to NZ to raise a family and moved into the commercial world of business and marketing. Rachael has been drawn back to her true love by the passion of Tai and Taane and their company Okareka and brings a wealth of international theatre touring and business experience to the company.

  • Formed in 2007, Okareka was established to fuse contemporary dance with indigenous Māori themes and other genres to create authentic, diverse works. Led by senior performers Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal, Okareka has become one of New Zealand’s most sought after and prolific dance companies.

    Okareka holds its provenance close to its heart. Through choreography, set design, and costume, the company strives to tell bold, spiritual stories that are of and from New Zealand. Through careful collaboration the company seeks to extend its creativity and its influence by engaging experienced artists from around the Globe – the sole driver – to create evocative, beautiful dance works that tell a story.

    Okareka is a company guided by Māori beliefs. These beliefs are brought to its work and its audiences.

    The next 5 years are very exciting for Okareka as it continues to grow and develop both creatively and strategically in areas of business, education and repertoire.

  • “Strong, powerful, spiritual, beautiful, courageous Mana Wahine” Amy Chafif 28th June 2014

    “Art honed to perfection” Bernadette Rae NZ Herald July 3rd 2014

     “Jaw –droppingly memorable” Sharu Delikan 3rd July 2014

    “Even if you’re not into dance – and honestly I can take it or leave it most of the time – Mana Wahine is an essential experiences. It’s one that I can see having a long life through tours and festivals across the country and the world. It is a show about woman, largely by woman, the insight it provides about woman from all backgrounds and cultures is not to be missed, and are to be discussed about at length in the foyer and on the way home” Sam Brooks 8th July 2014

    “The fabulous set, costume, exceptional choreography and skill of its cast and directors makes this piece really stand out. Add the masterful use of music, from traditional, haunting waiata through to electronic funk, and you have a hugely enjoyable theatrical performance” Natalie Ridler 2014

    “Okareka Dance Company has hit the jackpot with this exploration of the strength, the spirit, the wiles and primal beauty of woman, specifically Maori woman. Five extreme dancers, three choreographers at the top of their game, a totally in-tune composer, exquisite lighting and audio visual design and a wealth of cultural wisdom come together in one of the best contemporary dance performances we have seen in years” Bernadette Rae NZ Herald July 3rd 2014

    “Woman’s power, authority, energy and essence, sisterhood and maternality, authority and anger, playfulness and presence of mind are celebrated in Okareka in Okareka Dance Company’s aptly named Mana Wahine” Raewyn Whyte 3rd July 2014

    “If you love dance, have never seen dance, or even possibly hate dace you really owe it to yourself to buy a ticket to this show. All involved are geniuses. This show really is incredibly awesome. ‘Nuff said. Go see the show.” Sharu Delikan 3rd July 2014

    “Never had I seen an audience so transfixed, so attentive, so mesmerised, so moved all at the same time. And the audience erupting in a spontaneous standing ovation clearly depicted that the crowd was itching to show their delirious euphoria” Sharu Delikan 3rd July 2014

Photo credit Alex Efimoff

Photo credit Alex Efimoff