Thirty-five Māori performing artists took to the stage in a culminating showcase following an inaugural performing arts mentoring programme, Ngahau e Whā.
Performers between 13 and 18 years of age participated from four corners of the Waikato to develop their talent across four art forms: hip hop music, street dance, theatre, and ngā mahi a rēhia.
Ngahau e Whā Programme Coordinator, Michael Moore, says “We wanted to deliver a high-quality arts programme into the districts of the Waikato that would not normally receive this type of opportunity.
“There is so much talent in the Waikato and the programme gives them a chance to step into their spotlight and develop in a different way,” he says.
The six-week intensive programme leading up to the showcase gave taiohi (young people) a chance to develop their skills in performing arts under the mentorship of local experts.
A group of rangatahi (Māori youth) from Te Wharekura o Maniopoto in Te Kuiti were mentored in ngā mahi a rēhia under the guidance of Maria Huata, Te Wairere Ngaia, and Hamuera Pugh.
Similarly, students from Tokoroa were trained in street dance by mentors Raelene Hoogeveen, Daniel Laiiva and Logan Clendon.
Students from Huntly were trained in theatre by Max and Theo Palamo, and students from Hamilton trained in hip hop music by mentors Ngakoma Conner and Hohepa Morgan.
“It’s been incredible to see how our mentors have helped our young people develop in the art forms they’ve been learning,” says Moore.
“From week one until now, I’ve seen the performers really pick up in their confidence and soft skills which is a natural result of having such brilliant mentors,” he says.
The final performance took place at Hamilton’s Meteor Theatre on Sunday 27 October.
Ngahau e Whā was funded by Creative New Zealand and delivered by Creative Waikato.
Moore says, “It’s been a privilege to work with those mentors and it’s been even more of a privilege to see our young people grow in the arts.”