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TOLU reflects Pacific diaspora in Aotearoa

TOLU reflects Pacific diaspora in Aotearoa

  • 17 Jun 2024
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(Picture caption: TOLU is premiering in Auckland on 27 June 2024 as part of the Pacific Dance Festival.)

Resonating deeply with the tapestry of the Pacific, Pacific Dance festival finale TOLU is a performance not to be missed. 

Premiering at 7:30pm on 27 June 2024 at Auckland’s Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, following a special secondary schools’ matinee, TOLU will complete the month-long Pacific Dance Festival, an annual event in Aotearoa New Zealand.

TOLU (meaning three) is a work, which weaves western music with the songs and dances of the Pacific.

The show is directed by Iosefa Enari MNZM, who has worked closely with NZTrio and Pacific music director Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu to compile a soundscape that represents various Pacific cultures in Aotearoa.

Drawn from the music of Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Hawai’i, and Aotearoa, it will be performed by NZTrio (violin, cello and piano).

The work includes vibrant, visual scenography by New Zealand Arts Laureate FAFSWAG and award-winning production designers Filament Eleven11.

TOLU will also feature works from renowned composer New Zealand Arts Laureate John Psathas, and arrangements of the Pacific music have been provided by Poulima Salima, Ryan Youens and John-Paul Muir.  

In the past century, the Pacific diaspora have settled throughout the globe and many now call Aotearoa home.

Through the music, the audience is taken on a journey across the ocean where music is the metaphor of the interconnectedness of Pacific cultures.

The vast Moana Nui A Kiwa is a highway Pacific people traverse through time and space with its ultimate destination being Aotearoa.

Music reflects the energy, rhythms and evolving culture of Pacific people, and it is layered with traditional Pacific songs, popular music, jazz, contemporary rhythms and chants, familiar to many of our Pacific audiences.

The second theme directly connected to navigation is the ways in which modern issues like climate change have begun to affect oceans, islands and cultures.

Through movement, scenography and inclusion of western music, the play between these elements enables the audience to contemplate the current effects of these changing environments.

TOLU becomes a reflection on the rising sea levels, environmental impacts, modern influences on Pacific cultures and how we adapt to meet these modern provocations.  

The work is performed by Pacific Dance NZ in collaboration with NZTrio He Taonga Wairere, a national treasure of New Zealand, featuring acclaimed musicians Ashley Brown, Amalia Hall and guest pianist Liam Wooding.

Joining them in this work are Pacific guest musicians Niulala Helu, Helen Pahulu and Alan Motufoua, while guest dancers are Tupe Lualua MNZM, Faivaeselopepe Anric Sitanilei and Josie Bonnington-Mailisi. 

Visit the Auckland Live website to buy tickets.