Award-winning Māori artists head to Canada’s Banff Centre

Press Release – Creative New Zealand


Award-winning Māori artists head to Canada’s The Banff Centre for cultural exchange

Te Kahu Rolleston

Award-winning dancer/choreographer Shakaiah Perez and writer/spoken word poetry champion Te Kahu Rolleston have been selected to attend acclaimed indigenous arts residencies at one of the world’s leading arts and creativity hubs.

In a joint initiative with Creative New Zealand, Canada’s The Banff Centre – renowned for commissioning, supporting and producing new creative works – provides an opportunity for a Māori artist in each of its annual indigenous dance and writing residency programmes.

“Our special partnership with The Banff Centre supports talented Māori artists like Te Kahu and Shakaiah to develop their arts practice in a unique creative environment,” says Creative New Zealand Manager Jude Chambers.

Creative New Zealand’s support for Māori artists to take part in these residencies includes support towards flights, accommodation, programme/tuition fees and meals.

Shakaiah Perez – Indigenous Dance Residency
Ngāti Porou, Te-Āti-Haunui-ā-Paparangi, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Rangi

Māori dancer and choreographer Shakaiah Perez will shortly leave for Canada to participate in The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency, along with other indigenous dancers from various nations and backgrounds.

The four-week residency over August is an intensive programme that involves daily technique classes and choreographic exploration with acclaimed indigenous choreographers and instructors, as well as creating a new choreographic work that will be performed as part of the Banff Summer Arts Festival. These collaborative performances can be an important creative and professional development opportunity for our emerging artists.

At nineteen, Auckland-based Shakaiah is already making her mark with international hip hop titles and vast film and television experience.

“I am really blessed to be given this amazing opportunity at such a young age and to be able to pursue my passion overseas as a native woman,” says Shakaiah.

“I can’t wait to learn and share what I have to offer with the world and to take my skills to that next level. A huge thank you to Creative New Zealand for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate being indigenous through dance.”

Shakaiah is of Māori, Samoan, Portuguese, African, Spanish, Tahitian and Tokelauan decent. Her multi-ethnic make-up drives her interest in different cultures. She formed dance company Native Stance this year, which focuses on blending modern dance styles with indigenous dance styles. Shakaiah is also studying Anthropology and Spanish at Auckland University, with plans to travel to America to work with Native American tribes.

Shakaiah has represented Aotearoa at a number of overseas festivals and competitions, gaining world hip hop titles as part of the Royal Family crews from Parris Goebel’s Palace Dance Studios and the NoMads Dance Crew of company Fresh Movement. She is set to appear in the upcoming New Zealand hip hop film Born to Dance.

Te Kahu Rolleston – Indigenous Writing Programme

Tauranga-born spoken word poet Te Kahu Rolleston will participate in this year’s The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Writing Programme, allowing him to develop his writing as part of a vibrant community of a distinguished faculty and fellow writers from September to December.

The programme comprises two weeks of intensive writing time at The Banff Centre followed by 10 weeks working online from home or a work space with a mentor (editor). Te Kahu will receive one-on-one editorial feedback from a faculty member and present an excerpt of his work in a reading and spoken word series at The Banff Centre.

Te Kahu has this to say about the opportunity:

“I am the tides of Tauranga and its sea, they are me,
the currents may take me to shores a far,
but I’ll be home with new stories to share,
with anyone willing to lend me an ear.”

Te Kahu studied at Waikato University, gaining a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in Māori and Pacific Development and Māori Media and Communications.

His passion for poetry is deeply rooted in Manu Kōrero, waiata and haka.

A previous winner of Aotearoa’s National Poetry Slam competition, Te Kahu has a gift for spoken word poetry. He has performed at events all over the country and has made numerous appearances on television and radio.

Much of the work Te Kahu does is with youth and communities. He has taught spoken word poetry at universities, schools and also community classes. Te Kahu is involved with the Toimata Foundation as a member of Te Aho Tū Roa – a programme in Te Reo Māori working with kōhanga/puna reo, kura, wharekura and communities that embraces Māori culture, language and wisdom. Part of his work is to create and deliver poetry resources and workshops for youth.

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