February 3, 2022


On Thursday 10 February the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts will relaunch a reduced and revised programme that can be operated viably and safely under government guidelines at Red.  

The programme will retain free, whānau-friendly outdoor art and visual arts exhibitions in the Wellington region, and include a series of livestreams and recordings that can be accessed anywhere.

Festival Executive Director Meg Williams says, “Given the current situation, we need to be prepared that Aotearoa will be at Red for the Festival period (from 21 February) so the only viable option is to adapt now. While it’s a huge blow not to be able to stage everything we had planned, we hope a clear shift will give some certainty in an uncertain time”.

The Festival has already successfully opened extended seasons running from Spring 2021 as part of its Covid-19 strategy. Festival Artist in Focus Lisa Reihana’s free video exhibition in Pursuit of Venus [infected] opened at Te Papa in October and Hackman’s Destination Mars opened in December. More than 50,000 people have enjoyed these experiences to date and they will continue to operate under the Red level with appropriate restrictions in place.

“We share the sadness felt by many of our performing artists and practitioners who are no longer able to bring their work to audiences on stage at the Festival as planned – we will ensure we find ways to honour them. Our thoughts are with them and the many other artists and event Embargoed until 2pm, Thursday 3 February 2022 workers who are being seriously impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.”

The Festival is grateful that a portion of unrecoverable costs for some of its cancelled Festival events will be met by support from the Arts Culture Event Support Scheme administered by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Festival artists fees and crew wages will be paid in full.

All Festival ticket buyers who have purchased tickets to cancelled events will be granted a full refund or may opt to donate.

The events that cannot take place under Red level and have been cancelled are:

TSB Arena: BELLE – A performance of air Resample Tatau Taurite Avantdale Bowling Club

Opera House:
Venus Rising (postponed to November)
Aliens & Anorexia
Black Katz ReVerbz ReVibez
Aotearoa Nation
Lysander’s Aunty
The Haka Party Incident

Michael Fowler Centre:
HIHĪ – A Song of Place
NZSO Jubilee (postponed)
Taonga Moana The Seasons (postponed)
Postmodern Jukebox (postponed)

Circa Theatre:
Pakaru A Movement of Story: Pūrākau reo rotarota
Whare Kōrero: Stories Within Stories

Lower Hutt Little Theatre and Māoriland Film Hub

Te Rauparaha Arena
Our Revolution

Writers Programme / Chamber Music Series / Te Ahu Taiohi
Live events are cancelled. Next week the Festival will confirm a revised online series of streamed high-quality recordings that can be accessed anywhere. This series will include events adapted from Writers programme, Chamber Music Series and Tungia Tahia Festival.

The revised Festival programme will be relaunched on the Festival website festival.nz on Thursday 10 February.

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