Auckland Arts Festival champions ambitious ideas

The 2021 Auckland Arts Festival reaches Mahurangi this year with three shows at the Warkworth Town Hall.

Artistic director Shona McCullagh says the festival comprises a programme designed to unify, uplift and inspire through a “world-class all-Aotearoa curated collection of events that celebrate the timely theme of Aroha (love)”.

“Our festival vision champions change-making, the environment, ambitious ideas, powerful voices and inspirational experiences that open our eyes, our hearts and our minds,” she says.

Ms McCullagh says the festival, which runs from March 4 to 21, will include world premieres of several new works and revive some that had to be cancelled in 2020. It will involve more than 1000 artists at more than 70 events.

“We are so blessed in New Zealand to be able to come together and experience the excitement of live events – one of the few countries in the world to be able to do so,” she says.

“Feast on this opportunity, leap off the couch and treasure the irreplaceable essence of live performance – one that can never be replicated.”

Gitbox Rebellion – atmospheric, chaotic and orchestral.
Gitbox Rebellion – atmospheric, chaotic and orchestral.

Gitbox Rebellion to present fusion of musical styles

Described as “Igor Stravinsky meets Pete Townshend”, Gitbox Rebellion will present a blend of jazz, rock, folk and classical music at the Warkworth Town Hall on Sunday, March 7, at 4pm.

Festival organisers say the eight-piece guitar ensemble make their instruments sound atmospheric, chaotic and orchestral, and the concert will feature both original tunes and covers.

The band was founded in 1998 by Nigel Gavin, toured nationally and released two albums – Pesky Digits and Touchwood.

Gitbox Rebellion was reformed at the beginning of 2017, following requests from people who had attended the live performances and listened to the albums.

The reformed line-up features original members Nigel Gavin, Kim Halliday, Russell Hughes and Bodi Hermans, with newcomers Sam Loveridge, Sonia Wilson, Rob Mita and Doug Robertson.

Cian Parker jumps between multiple characters. Photo, Michael Smith
Cian Parker jumps between multiple characters. Photo, Michael Smith

Play tackles tough questions

Theatremaker Cian Parker ponders some of life’s curly questions in a one-woman play about growing up with a father who was mostly not there.

Among the questions: “What kind of father can’t remember his own daughter’s surname?”

The play, Sorry for Your Loss, will feature at the Warkworth Town Hall on Saturday, March 13 at 7pm.

Sorry for Your Loss is set to live music and sees Cian jumping between multiple characters and generations in a “dynamic physical performance”.

Festival organisers say the play is real and relatable and tells a personal, bittersweet story that pays tribute to wāhine toa – female heroes.

“It’s a sad, funny, honest one-woman show that you won’t forget in a hurry,” they say.

The play is suitable for all ages.

Moana Maniapoto celebrates the ocean.
Moana Maniapoto celebrates the ocean.

Show celebrates stories of the ocean

Singer-songwriter Moana Maniapoto will be joined by her sister Trina, composer Paddy Free and guitarist Cadzow Cossar for a musical and narrative tribute to the ocean and Aotearoa.

Organisers say My Name is Moana is “an uplifting and humour-filled show”, which features an “intoxicating mix of music, myth and personal anecdote”.

Songs from Moana & The Moahunters album Tahi will be included along with “garage party classics” and songs previously performed by the band Moana and the Tribe.

Moana and the Tribe has performed hundreds of international concerts, and is considered one of the most successful indigenous bands to emerge from New Zealand.

In 2003, Moana won the grand prize at the 2003 International Songwriting Competition with the song “Moko”.   

My Name is Moana will feature at the Warkworth Town Hall on Thursday, March 18, at 7pm.

For more information and booking for all Auckland Arts Festival shows, visit

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