Read the full programme below.

Acclaimed and accomplished Pacific dance artists take the floor in the fourth rendition of the Pacific Dance Festival bringing a moving feast of entertaining and thought-provoking theatre, workshops, screenings, choreographic labs and more.  The festival in June is bigger than ever and is an opportunity for audiences to experience the varied and outstanding work of Pacific artistic spirit Auckland Tamaki Makaurau has to offer. Taking place in venues across Auckland, in 2019, for the first time, the festival will launch and premiere at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in central Auckland.

‘LEECHES’ [Friday 7th June, 2019] will headline the festival and its premiere at the ASB Waterfront Theatre will be a tour de force of Pacific contemporary dance featuring lead choreography by Aloalii Tapu along with a collective of eight award-winning and internationally acclaimed dancers in a full-length work; Braedyn Humphries, Connor ‘Ooshcon’ Masseurs, Jahra ’Rager’ Wasasala, Taniora Motutere, Sione Fataua, Elijah Kennar and Faith Schuster.

“ It is very exciting to work with my friends and bring this piece to life in its debut for the Pacific Dance festival at the Auckland Theatre Company.  This show is a ‘movement practice’ I have developed that underpins a virtuosic and intricate movement language, and well…follows our experience living the modern experience of being Kiwi and Pasifika and our turmoil and triumphs of living in a Eurocentric country” says Aloalii

The festival programme continues with the following full-length showcases at Mangere Arts Centre:

  • ‘Maui’ Saturday 15 June 2019, 7-8pm award winning Nesian-hip-hop fusion dance at the recent Auckland Fringe Festival by Hadleigh Pouesi and Freshmans Crew.
  • ‘Moana’ Tuesday 11 June and Wednesday 12 June 2019 7-9pm, returns with a diverse line-up featuring ‘Lalo’ by Ankaramy Fepuleai, ’Stolen Stories’ by FAF SWAG artist Manoa Teaiwa, ‘Ave Ese’ by Tofifailauga Misa, Lyncia Muller and the New Zealand School of Dance.
  • A triple-bill show Friday 14 June 2019, 8-9pm featuring Tia Sagapolutele, Laifa Ta’ala and Aue Dance Company.
  • ‘Siva Mai’ Sunday 23 June, 5pm an expression of modern Samoan identity through music and dance by composer Opeloge Ah Sam.
  • ‘Kapu Akari’ Saturday 22 June 2019 – 8-9pm by Aue Dance Company, a fusion of two award-winning dance works ‘Opaque’ and ‘Reka’.

The festival will give dance enthusiasts the opportunity to participate in free public workshops featuring Le Taupou Manaia at the Grey Lynn Community Centre and Tahiti ia Ora at Te Oro Arts Centre in Glen Innes.

The opportunity to get inside the creative process and taste the works on display in the festival will be had at the Auckland Art Gallery with free open rehearsals during the course of the month.

The Artist in Residence programme has been a feature on the Pacific dance calendar for the past nine-years. Now, as part of the festival, it offers senior dance artists the chance to work with the local communities and this year Auckland is in for a treat. We are thrilled to announce this year’s artists are Fijian based dance troupe Rako Pasefika.  Fresh from Blues Fest Byron Bay, creative associate; Samuela Konusi Taukave will be joined by company dancers Emily Marie and Iane Tavo. The residency will commence in May as part of the New Zealand Rotuman Language Week and run through the June festival. 

In its 10th Year the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab provides New Zealand based Pacific dance artists and choreographers the opportunity to develop an original dance work. During the festival, the choreographer is Tupe Lualua of Porirua, Wellington who will workshop her new work with Auckland based female dancers.

Following the popular Pacific Dance on Screen at the 2018 festival, this year in association with the Auckland Art Gallery, another fabulous collection of original Pacific dance films will be on show at the Auckland Art Gallery on Sunday 23rd June.  

A range of dance and professional development talks will also take place in locations around Auckland, so keep a look-out for one near you.

The Pacific Dance Festival calendar will be available through this website (  and printed programmes will be available from festival venues. Follow along on social on Facebook (@PacificdanceNZ) and Instagram (@pacificdancefestival) to experience the journey before you get to the theatre.

Auckland continues to lead the global Pacific arts scene and the Pacific Dance Festival is a real-life opportunity to experience innovatively unique expressions and themes through dance.

The Pacific Dance Festival for 2019 has something for everyone and will be an interactive and indeed a thought-provoking showcase for the Auckland June winter.



Wednesday 5th June, 6pm; ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company

Festival launch followed by short snippets of works from the festival programme, and a performance by Tahiti Ia Ora.


Tuesday 11 June, 7pm; Mangere Arts Centre

Wednesday 12th June, 7pm; Mangere Arts Centre

A collection of short works by emerging dance artists Ankaramy Fepuleai with ‘Lalo’, ’Stolen Stories’ by FAF SWAG artist Manoa Teaiwa, Lyncia Muller and the New Zealand School of Dance.  


Saturday 15th June, 7pm; Mangere Arts Centre

Hadleigh Pouesi & Freshmans Dance Crew

Māui is a piece that uses dance, music and physical theatre to tell the stories that we grew up with and have travelled throughout the Pacific for hundreds of years.  Māui demonstrates strength, growth, leadership and vulnerability and through movement these stories are re-told in a way like never before.

Artist in Residence Showing

Monday 17 June, 5-6pm, Venue: Te Oro Arts Centre

International group RAKO show the work created with communities of Aotearoa.

FREE: All welcome, for more information please contact by email:


Friday 7th June, ASB Waterfront Theatre, 8pm; Auckland Theatre Company

LEECHES follows nine award-winning and internationally acclaimed dancers and their experiences living the modern experience of being Kiwi and Pasifika; their turmoil and triumphs of living in a Euro-Centric country. The performers take on character roles of members of society in order to reflect and challenge how the modern Pasifika person is perceived by one another and New Zealanders.


Friday 14th June, 7pm; Mangere Arts Centre

Triple-bill performance, featuring Vivian Aue’s ‘Melville Place’, Laifa Ta’ala and Ufitia Sagapolutele’s latest original dance work on various personal stories from women.


Sunday 16th June, 5pm; Mangere Arts Centre

Opeloge Ah Sam

A performance that follows the expression of modern Samoan Identity through music and dance -moulded and fused together with styles such as Jazz, Ballet & Arabic dance.

 Siva Mai explores the dilemma many Pasifika people have who grow up in multi-cultural environments and households where they have bi-cultural identities and more.


Saturday 22 June, 8pm; Mangere Arts Centre

Aue Dance Co. Choreographed by Vivian Hosking-Aue

KAPU AKARI is a physical dance montage exploring the themes of sacred traditional Pacific ceremonies, rituals, protocols and events where a coconut cup and coconut husk is being used. Also exploring the importance and significance of a tanoa (kava bowl).


FIRST FRIDAY co-hosted by Pacific Dance NZ & Tautai

Friday 7th June, 6-7pm, Venue TBC

A dance talk with artists Julia Gray and Raymond Sagapolutele.


Wednesday 19th June, 7-9pm, Grey Lynn Community Centre

Le Taupou Manaia presents a workshop on Traditional Samoan Siva

FREE: To register for this workshop, please contact by email:


Workshop 1 Saturday 15th June, 4-6pm; Grey Lynn Community Centre, Grey Lynn

Workshop 2 Saturday 22nd June, 2-4pm; Te Oro Arts Centre, Glen Innes

Tahiti Ia Ora presents a workshop of Tahitian drum and dance.

FREE: To register for this workshop, please contact by email:

PRODUCERS WORKSHOP (20 places available)

Date to be Advised, The Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn

Topics covered in the workshop: producing shows, funding resources, marketing and insights into the industry from arts stakeholders.

FREE: To register for this workshop, please contact by email:


Friday 21 June, 8-9pm, Venue TBC

Established Choreographer and Director of Le Moana Dance Company Tupe Lualua shows her newly developed work E Au le Ina’ilau A Tama’ita’i a proverb in Samoan for female legacy of achievement.

FREE: Register to view this showing, please contact by email:


Sunday 23rd June, 3pm; Auckland Art Gallery

Pacific Dance New Zealand and the Auckland Art Gallery present a public screening of selected Pacific Dance  short films and footage.

FREE: To register for this screening, please contact by email:


About The Author

Shawn Moodie
Managing Director & Entertainment Editor

Shawn has pretty diverse interests and enjoys writing on about whatever happens to take his fancy at the time. A seasoned entertainment reviewer and interviewer, Shawn has also seen every band on his 'Musicians to see before I die' list.

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