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Wellington High School and Com Ed Centre

Region: Wellington

Art form: Multi-Disciplinary

Project name: Pūrangiaho

Creative name:

Project information: Wellington High School students participating in this project will cultivate their passion for performance in relation to their identity as Māori. Through a mentorship-based project, students will build a stronger understanding of modern Māori performance through theatre. This project will encourage participation and confidence in multi-disciplinary creative forms inside and outside the classroom. The Māori performing arts (MPA) class at Wellington High have expressed their concern about a lack of resources and have a yearning to access a wider variety of performance mediums. The intention of this project is to use theatre as a medium to explore performance and harness a confidence that will help students as creatives in any discipline. Māori students at Wellington High, especially those in MPA and kapa haka have nurtured a strong sense of belonging and a deeper understanding of their future ambitions. As a school, we want to support this further by providing more positive developmental experiences in the arts that our rangatahi already see as essential to their existing identities. 

Māori are underrepresented in many creative disciplines, especially in mainstream formats, even though performance is part of who we are as Māori. This project will attempt to bridge the gap between performance that is inherently Māori and what we see as mainstream performance spaces. Theatre can affirm young people's social existence and create dialogue that extends students’ learning beyond the practical skill set. Allowing young people to curate dialogue, scenes, or expression through theatre-based exercises speaks to our culture and also subcultures we identify with as Māori.

Access to theatre is often paired with privilege, and this project will provide a gateway for those that may not have had this privilege before. Part of the privilege of experiencing theatre is physical, mental, and academic. Teaching theatre-based workshops in the MPA class will provide a sense of confidence in oneself, a critical lens on society, and an exploration into texts relating to Māori writers and characters. Our creative understands the needs of our students and how to relate to them on a personal level. She also has experience in delivering programmes all over the country using applied theatre and we would love for our students to take part in the power of theatre as we have seen it impact Māori in other schools and communities in Aotearoa.

Project starting: February 2022

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