Whairepo Lagoon Dance

Wellington Waterfront, leaving from the Albatross statue, near Whairepo Lagoon and Kaffee Eis, Wellington

05/02/2021 - 28/02/2021

The Performance Arcade 2021: What if the City was a Theatre

Production Details


Whairepo lagoon – Treasure Island


wheelchair, casual, non-verbal, sensory

The Whairepo Lagoon Dance signals the beginning of WHAT IF THE CITY WAS A THEATRE? and celebrates the movement programme curated by Movement Of The Human. This vibrant and beautiful work brings together over 45 exceptional performers from across Aotearoa in a visual display of energy, colour and movement.

Featuring: the superb kapa haka group Hiwa directed by Virgina Maxwell, guest artist singer songwriter Sharn Te Pou while perform a few of his songs, and performers from Wellington Opera and MOTH. A collaboration and celebration of movement styles and energy, this work will be presented at dusk, nestled amongst the Whairepo Lagoon Garden (aka Treasure Island). The performance will be visible from most angles around the lagoon.

Wellington Opera performers, Hannah Catrin Jones & Boyd Owen will be performing two well-loved duets: Vogliatemi bene, from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Brindisi from Verdi’s La Traviata. They will be accompanied by Mark Dorrell on keyboard.

Audiences are invited to gather round the west end of the lagoon and join us in celebrating the beginning of the movement programme.

Whairepo Lagoon Dance is a development on an earlier work by Movement Of The Human; He Wawā Waraki: Roaring Chorus, commissioned by the Ministry of Culture and heritage in 2018 in response to the Armistice Centenary.

MOTH is a company that brings together artists from all sorts of backgrounds, including dance, theatre, design, video and music. We’re interested in connecting with artists and communities, and offering different perspectives on contemporary life. We’ve staged works as diverse as Hurihrui – an outdoor spectacle for the Commonwealth Games Arts Festival in Australia in 2018, to Meremere an intimate dance theatre work right through to directing and choreographing the World of Wearable Art Awards Show, a huge indoor arena event. What drives us is how movement, combined with music and light can tell us and make us feel so much more than words alone. Creating and being immersed in theatrical and imaginative worlds with movement is a huge adventure. We discover new things. We are inspired by other perspectives through this which we discover new understandings and ideas and possibilities of worlds beyond our own. Being creative with other artists is what drives us and the kaupapa of Movement of the Human. We collaborate. Through the process of collaboration we are able to create something more, something bigger and something more meaningful than could be created by the individual.




Movement of the Human (Moth)

Director: Malia Johnson

45 exceptional performers from across Aotearoa.

Kapa haka group Hiwa directed by Virgina Maxwell.

Singer songwriter Sharn Te Pou

Performers from Wellington Opera and MOTH.

Wellington Opera performers, Hannah Catrin Jones & Boyd Owen, Mark Dorrell on keyboard.

Site-specific/site-sympathetic , Outdoor , Kapa Haka theatre , Family , Dance , Cultural activation ,

30 minutes

Fascinatingly detailed and real

Review by Donna Banicevich Gera 06th Feb 2021

It’s dusk. In a puffer jacket I stand on an elevated walkway overlooking the lagoon on the Wellington waterfront, in the heart of the CBD. People gather below, joining the celebration and launch of this unique programme curated by Movement Of The Human (MOTH). The opening performance in the What If The City Was A Theatre programme unfolding across our city. Before too long the heart begins to beat.

A visually spellbinding, gloriously vivid surge of talent unwinds, delivering with skill and precision across the water of the lagoon. 

MOTH as a company brings together artists from all backgrounds and are interested in connecting, collaborating, and presenting diverse perspectives on our present day lives. Their work is fascinatingly detailed and real.

The veins surge through this multi-faceted event. We are privy to the superb talents of guest artist singer songwriter Sharn Te Pou. Words cannot describe how powerful this performance is. The Kapa Haka group Hiwa, directed by Virginia Maxwell emotionally resonating against the landscape.  And the Wellington Opera performers, Hannah Catrin Jones, and Boyd Owen, accompanied by Mark Dorrell on keyboard.

For me the vision of a woman in a red dress, her reflection stretching across the water, hits at my European roots and takes my breath away.

This is a great place to be. Wellington and our artists have come to life through the sights and sounds of theatrical performance. Woven into our city, our home. Our heart is racing.

So, the question is posed. What if the city was a theatre? It is. 

I feel proud to be a resident of Wellington, watching a spectacular vision released into our world of increasing change. I am hopeful this programme is supported by locals and visitors alike, as they explore our special place.


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