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Source: Auckland Council

Named for the Te Reo word for Spring, Kōanga gathers the community together for the season that is traditionally a time to combine efforts to plant for the next harvest.

In the same spirit, the role of Kōanga Festival is to develop a fertile Auckland Māori Theatre creative economy outside of the busy Matariki season, focused on developing new creative talent and work.

Now into its seventh iteration, Kōanga is celebrated annually at Te Pou Theatre, which was established in 2015 as a response to the Māori theatre sector’s desire to have a home for their work, offering a place for artists to develop and present their work under a tikanga Māori led arts management kaupapa.

Te Pou took up permanent residency at Corban Estate Arts Centre in 2019, and are currently in the process of building a purpose-built venue for their mahi. 

Te Pou Theatre are delighted to go ahead their annual Kōanga Festival in 2021, adopting a hybrid model to encompass both digital offerings and in-person events in response to Tāmaki Makaurau’s changing alert level status.

A celebration of Māori storytelling, centered on their emerging playwright programme, Te Pou have extended the planned dates for this year’s festival, now running from 23 September – 9 October.

The 2021 Kōanga Festival offerings are:

Join Te Pou Theatre in celebrating and supporting the development these new works in development with a series of online koha playreadings.

Friday 1 October | 7pm

Hoki Wairua Mai
by Baylee Watene-Kay (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Hine)

A new Te Reo Māori theatre work for young audiences that sees twins Waiata and Hāparangi race against time to deliver the loneliest man in Hawaiki to the birth of his 100th moko.

Saturday 2 October | 7pm

Atarangi: Morning Sky
by Tom Knowles (Rongowhakaata)

Atarangi: Morning Sky explores the Māori myth of creation, Ranginui and Papatūānuku, through the eyes of a young New Zealand teenager in 2021, finding parallels from the myth to her modern day life. An Aotearoa Reggae-Roots musical extravaganza exploring where we each come from.

Friday 8 October 2021 | 7pm

Pīrairaka, Tīrairaka
by Colleen Maria Lenihan (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) and Ava Williams (Ngāpuhi, Tainui)

Two young wāhine Maori grappling with the pressures of life in the city are visited by their grandmothers, who will stop at nothing to bring their mokos home. The kuia believe the only way forward is for their mokos to go back to their whenua and whānau. They are determined to bring their moko home and nothing, not even death, will stand in their way.

Saturday 9 October 2021 | 7pm

The Kōkako
by Te Aorewa Areta (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi)

At a time when Māori and non-Māori have been torn apart, a Māori woman steps to the front of New Zealand’s suffrage movement, fighting for a cause that represents all women. The Kōkako tells the story of Meri Mangakāhia, mysterious, elegant and intelligent, a hidden gem of our history.


Thursday 23 September, 6pm
Connecting to the maramataka through pūrakau, pūoro and toi onepū, this first development evening brings together mātauranga Māori with Rikki Soloman, live sand art from Marcus Winter and taonga puoro from Jerome Puoro.


Te Pou are inviting whānau to learn the stories of the whenua while walking around Te Pou with a new partnership with Sport Waitakere and Kawerau-ā-Maki Active Whakapapa.