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Source: UCOL | Te Pūkenga

UCOL | Te Pūkenga have announced that they will be introducing an exciting new Māori and Pasifika performing arts course at their Wairarapa campus in 2024.

The new Performing Arts Level 3 course, which will provide an introduction to Māori and Pasifika performing arts, is a hands-on energetic programme, says UCOL Wairarapa Campus Director Carrie McKenzie.

“The modules will cover Māori, Cook Island and Samoan basic skills in song and dance. If you haven’t done it before or you’re keen to upskill in your reo and tikanga – now’s your chance to try. Everyone is welcome!”

With classes running just one evening per week, Ms McKenzie says that upskilling in cultural performing arts is now more accessible for the Wairarapa community.

“We have already run a diploma in Performing Arts (Māori and Pasifika), but we understand that for many people, committing to two years is quite an ask. That’s why we’ve introduced the Level 3 option, to provide performing arts on our campus on a part-time basis.

“We know from our community that lots of people want to try kapa haka but it may not have been available to them when they were growing up or they’ve never had the opportunity to learn. We’re making this a possibility for them!”

The course will be run at Te Whare Amorangi, the marae on UCOL’s Wairarapa campus.

“It’s a safe space where ākonga (learners) can have the confidence to learn tikanga, te ao Māori and te reo Māori. Here they’re able to learn, make mistakes in a supportive, non-judgmental environment, and feel proud and included.”

We have two kaiako (teachers) available to teach the programme – Shari Taylor-Kawana and Kiri Riwai Couch, says Ms McKenzie.

“Shari and Kiri both teach the Diploma and are really well known in Wairarapa. Just last month, they took their Level 6 Performing Arts ākonga to the National TheatreFest in Christchurch. They came away with a collection of accolades, including second place with their production, ‘Say my Name’.

The course offers useful foundational knowledge that can be applied to a range of industries, says Ms McKenzie.

“The course itself is around building confidence in performance but it would also be a great experience for those looking to work within the tourism industry and those in government roles.

“For non-Māori, it’s important to have a good understanding of Tikanga and te ao Māori while living in Aotearoa. For people of Māori, Cook Island and Samoan descent it can help them to find a connection with their own identity, learning where they’ve come from and expressing it through movement.”

The course also offers a pathway into other UCOL programmes.

“Once ākonga have completed this course, they can go into any of our other performing arts programmes – whether they want to get into music, DJ-ing, or go straight to the top and do the Level 6  Diploma or the full Bachelor of Performing Arts.

“For ākonga who didn’t quite finish high school, but are interested in doing a degree or diploma, this course can act as their entry qualification too! As long as they have NCEA Level 1, they are welcome to join. It may even be fees-free for some people if it’s their first year of study.”

For more information about the Level 3 Performing Arts programme or to enrol, please visit: