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New arts centre celebrates Mangere and Manukau

Media release

1 September 2010


New arts centre celebrates Mangere and Manukau

Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku is celebrating its local community with visual and performing arts events that will inaugurate its gallery and theatre.

The centre’s first exhibition, manu toi; artists and messengers, and theatre performance, Tautai, feature work by both established and emerging artists, many with strong links to Mangere and Manukau.

Nigel Borell, guest curator for manu toi; artists and messengers, says that the exhibition plays on the metaphor of artists as messengers, communicators and mediators of ideas related to this world, whether they be of the past, present or future.

“The artists included in this show are our pioneers, our leaders, our innovators and our rising stars. It is not until we ‘fly out’ of the vicinity of the area, that we truly appreciate all that is unique, colourful, youthful, exuberant, fresh and eternally powerful in Manukau.”

The dynamic group includes Dion Hitchens, who was born and bred in Mangere, and now teaches at the Manukau School of Visual Arts (MSVA). Maureen Lander and Robert Jahnke are two senior contemporary Maori artists who have spent many years in the Mangere community. Siliga David Setoga is a young artist who recently moved to Mangere with his family. Meanwhile, MSVA tutor Rebecca-Ann Hobbs has captured the old Mangere Bridge with a funky multi-media installation. Te Aue Davis is the most senior artist, and is a renowned master weaver who has lived in Mangere for most of her life.

Tautai is a coming of age story penned by Tokelauan/Samoan New Zealander Iaheto Ah Hi. The writer says the play weaves together song, dance, gaming, b-boying, and giant sea turtles with his love of Polynesian mythology and storytelling. Mr Ah Hi is a graduate of Toi Whakaari - New Zealand Drama School and currently resides in Mangere Bridge.

Originally written as a one-man play, Tautai has been reworked into a four-person production and is co-directed by Iaheto Ah Hi and Oscar Kightley. The story has also been incorporated into the upcoming local feature film, Matariki, which will be screened at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. 

Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku has many exciting events planned, full of talent and creativity. Upcoming highlights include performances by students from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, the Kila Kokonut Krew and the Manukau Pacific Dance Artist in Residence project. Sculpture and poster art exhibitions, kids’ theatre, youth events and the return of the popular Southside Gig will be events to watch out for during the Manukau Festival of Arts during October.


What, When, Who, Where

manu toi; artists and messengers

4 September – 3 October 2010


Te Aue Davis, Dion Hitchens, Rebecca-Ann Hobbs, Robert Jahnke, Leilani Kake, Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes, Vinesh Kumaran/Ema Tavola, Maureen Lander, Aimee Ratana, Siliga David Setoga, Donna Tupaea.

Curated by Nigel Borell



7, 8, 9, 11 September – 7.30pm

Friday 10 September – 8.00pm


Written by: Iaheto Ah Hi

Directed by: Iaheto Ah Hi and Oscar Kightley

Starring: Iaheto Ah Hi, Shimpal Lelisi, Semu Filipo and Victoria Schmidt
Lighting Design: Katrina Chandra    

Set Design: Sean Coyle

Tickets: Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku or www.eventfinder.co.nz


Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku

Corner Bader Drive and Orly Avenue

Mangere, Manukau




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