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Free Pacific Dance Classes Open to the Public in Manukau

Free Pacific Dance Classes Open to the Public in Manukau

Four celebrated Pasifika dance artists will be teaching in South Auckland for the next two months, as they take up residency at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) in partnership with Pacific Dance New Zealand.

From July 22 to September 10, on Wednesdays and Thursdays 3.30pm-5.30pm at MIT’s Manukau campus above the Manukau Train Station, the public is invited to come and learn Pacific dance from these experts.

Teaching for two weeks each, the four artists are Samoan choreographer Tupe Lualua, Hawaiian kumu hula Aruna Po-Ching, Tongan choreographer Sesilia Pusiaki and Pan Pacific drum dancer Leki Jackson Bourke.

It’s the first time four artists have shared the Pacific Dance residency, and it’s the first stage of a long term partnership between Pacific Dance New Zealand and MIT’s Faculty of Creative Arts.

Grant Thompson, Dean of MIT Faculty of Creative Arts, says “the artists in residency partnership with Pacific Dance aligns with the Faculty’s desire to become a centre for Pacific arts.”

“Our students are excited about working with these four experts, and creating their own choreography in response to what they learn,” says Thompson.

Director of Pacific Dance NZ, Sefa Enari, says that this year's residency offers a programme rich in diversity and will be an experience for those who take part.

“We've always wanted this residency to be open and not just for youth or just for Pacific Islanders either. We hope this may attract participation from all walks of life, from different ages and people in the local community. That's what we'd love to see in terms of participation.”

As part of this relationship, the residency will include an intensive learning component for second year MIT dance students.


What: Pacific Dance Artists in Residence at the Manukau Institute of Technology

Where: MIT Manukau Theatre, Davies Ave, Manukau CBD

Cost: Free of charge to anyone


22 + 23 JulySamoanTupe Lualua
29 + 30 JulySamoanTupe Lualua
5 + 6 AugHawaiianAruna Po-Ching
12 + 13 AugHawaiianAruna Po-Ching
19 + 20 AugPacific DrumLeki Jackson Bourke
26 + 27 AugPacific DrumLeki Jackson Bourke
2 + 3 SeptTonganSesilia Pusiaki
9 + 10 SeptTonganSesilia Pusiaki
10 SeptFinal show – community & artists, 7.00pmAll


Tupe Lualua: Tupe is an established Samoan dance instructor and choreographer, with over ten years’ experience in the performance and education industry. Her dance work explores components forming a fiafiaga. She also wrote and directed 1918, a theatre production about the devastating 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic in Samoa, showing at the Mangere Arts Centre 27-30 July.

Aruna Po-Ching: Aruna is a Kumu Hula (Hawaiian hula teacher). Aruna is the director of 'The Hula Journey' and has worked in the arts for more than 20 years. Aruna is a singer, actor and dance practitioner on national and international stages.

Sesilia Pusiaki: Continuing a thousand year old dance form particular to her family’s Tongan village of Lepaha, Sesilia’s work has featured at the Tempo Dance Festival 2012, and in Moana, a Pacific Dance Showcase in 2014. She was the recipient of the 2012 Pacific Dance Artist in Residence.

Leki Jackson Bourke: Leki is this year’s recipient of the ‘Auckland is my Playground’ award for promoting arts and culture initiatives at the 2015 ‘I am Auckland Awards’. Leki is a graduate of P.I.P.A. (Pacific Institute of Performing Arts) and was chosen as one of the performers to represent New Zealand during the recent All Blacks tour of Samoa. Leki is a theatre actor and an expert performer and choreographer for Pan Pacific Drum dancing.


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