Under the auspicious stars of Matariki, Basement Theatre will host a four-day wānanga retreat for seven emerging Māori artists. Creating space for learning, healing and rejuvenation, experts in indigeous art forms and body practices will share their gifts and knowledge, in the hope that the artists’ emerging practices be adorned with the taonga of their ancestors.
Driving the kaupapa behind this wānanga is the well-known whakatauki, “Tangata ako ana i te kāinga, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana” which translates to, “A person nurtured in the community contributes strongly to society.” This sentiment stood out to us because we know we have a responsibility to nurture our artists, so they can go on to make strong contributions in whatever way is right for them. We also know that our responsibility to serve tangata whenua artists within that kaupapa, needs to be the central starting point.
Basement’s Executive Director and kaitiaki of this wānanga Cat Ruka (Ngāpuhi, Waitaha) says, “Over the last year we have closely observed the impacts of Covid-19 on our independent artist communities. We believe that it’s not a time to place expectations on artist output, but to get behind the re-building of their inner creative reservoirs. I see this wānanga as an intervention; a unique opportunity for artists to just gather and be in a space of receiving. We are flipping the western approach to artist residencies and indigenizing the conditions.”
Throughout the four days, artists will be given the chance to take workshops in Maramataka Māori, Te Tiriti ō Waitangi, and receive knowledge about the land that surrounds Basement directly from mana whenua. They will also experience the rejuvenating practices of Mirimiri, Taonga Puoro sound healing, Māu Rākau, and Karakia. All delivered within a safe space, and without judgement on where artists are in their understanding of tikanga and te reo.
Artists will also be special guests in attendance at an intimate evening of Māori music taking place on the final night in our main theatre space.
“Since 2016 Basement has held the Matariki season in the most precious of heart spaces. Originally led by Jason Te Kare, the programme was handed to Whetu Silver in 2019. I want to send a deep soul mihi to Whetu, who poured invaluable time and energy into our Matariki kaupapa for three wonderful years. It started a new path for Basement and I can feel the seeds she sowed growing steadily into this new era for us, one that is firmly rooted in the Waihorotiu riverbed and free from that pesky colonial gaze we know too well.” - Nisha Madhan, Basement Theatre Programme Manager
Basement Theatre invites ALL EMERGING MĀORI ARTISTS working across ALL CONTEMPORARY ART DISCIPLINES to apply to take part in this experience. You will be paid for your engagement in the wānanga so you can afford to take time off work, you will be nourished with good kai, you will develop new relationships with rangatira in your industry, and of course you will gain the chance to be gifted with unique new skills and knowledge-bases.
Applications open: Thursday May 5
Applications close: Thursday May 19
Artists selected and notified: Monday May 23
Wānanga Retreat dates: 20, 21, 22 and 23 June, 2022