Fresh Movement's MĀUI Voyages to the mainstage just in time for Matariki

Pacific Dance Festival & Auckland Live present 


by Fresh Movement  

Published: 18 May 2022

Pacific Dance Festival and Auckland Live are excited to announce that Fresh Movements acclaimed dance-theatre work MĀUI returns to the stage in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in celebration of Matariki. This epic journey through Polynesian myth and legend takes over the prestigious Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre at Aotea – Te Pokapū Aotea Centre for one night only on Thu 23 June, with tickets on sale from Thu 19 May, 9am. 

Fusing Pacific, Māori, hip-hop and contemporary dance, this celebrated production retells Māui's legend using the language of movement, music, poetry and stunning graphic illustrations.   

Choreographed by Hadleigh Pouesi, Christopher Ofanoa and Leilani Elliott and featuring an epic cast, MĀUI covers themes of strength, growth, leadership and vulnerability.  

MĀUI sees Fresh Movement merge Māori and Pacific storytelling traditions with the worlds of high drama, physical theatre, and contemporary dance to retell familiar stories through a Pacific lens. Audiences will journey across Te Moana Nui A Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean, with an ensemble of over 20 performers navigating and celebrating the dance traditions of multiple Pacific Island nations for a very special Matariki celebration. 

The work first premiered at Auckland Live as part of Auckland Fringe Festival 2019 and then again at the Māngere Arts Centre Ngā Tohu o Uenuku and ASB Waterfront Theatre as part 

of Pacific Dance Festival’s 2021 programme. This year’s MĀUI builds on the success of these past performances, offering Fresh Movement a chance to realise this world-class and uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand piece of theatre on a scale they had always imagined. 

Reflecting on the chance to present this legendary work on one of Aotearoa’s largest stages for Matariki 2022, choreographer and director Hadleigh Pouesi says, “MĀUI has become a work that I adore, and I have loved seeing it evolve with each retelling. To be given an opportunity to present this show at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre at Aotea, Te Pokapū Aotea Centre is a bucket list achievement. Growing up, I came to the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre to watch some of the greatest Pacific storytellers present their work and since I was a young boy it has been a dream that I would direct a show on that stage”. 

Auckland Live will also be bringing Māui’s fire to the heart of the city and lighting up Aotea Square to mark the inaugural Matariki public holiday.  

Crossing over multiple Pacific Island nations, Fresh Movement’s MĀUI is the unmissable centrepiece of Auckland Live’s 2022 Matariki programme.

'MĀUI was an engaging feat of direction and vision... This is a wonderful production that merges the old and the new, offering a dance experience that contains rhythm, narrative, joy and humour.' - Theatrescenes 



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