A unique dance collaboration brings Rotorua’s story to life

A unique dance collaboration brings Rotorua’s story to life


Kapa Haka and contemporary dancers shared the stage this week to help tell Rotorua’s story to media, Government officials and senior tourism representatives at TRENZ. 

The original work was choreographed exclusively for the event by Lakes Performing Arts Company’s Artistic Director, Turanga Merito; Kapa Haka expert and cultural entrepreneur, Wetini Mitai-Ngatai; and producer Lara Northcroft. The dancers were members of Te Mātārae I Ōrehu and Lakes Performing Arts Company.
 
Hosted by Destination Rotorua and Tourism Industry Aotearoa, the evening event held at the Blue Baths provided an opportunity for national and international media to network informally with TRENZ partners and other invited guests.
 
Destination Rotorua’s Chief Executive Michelle Templer said the evening was designed to reinforce the media’s experience of Rotorua, showcasing the city’s deep Māori heritage and stunning natural environment.
 
“The event was themed around the four elements of earth, air, fire, water and showed how in Rotorua, the elements come together in a powerful way and are protected to create unique experiences for the people who live and visit here.”
 
Choreographer Turanga Merito said: “This event was a great opportunity to show off the incredible young talent that we have in Rotorua.
 
“The interplay between the different dance forms was a lot of fun to create and the finale at the end, showing the elements protected by the Te Arawa warriors, was a visual demonstration of our kaitiaki (guardianship) role.”
 
Kapa Haka expert Wetini Mitai-Ngatai said: "It was awesome to collaborate with my nephew Turanga to bring kapa haka into a modern context. The audience seemed to really respond which makes me think I might do more!”

“I've been working with performers for over twenty years now so when this opportunity came up, this particular group of young performers jumped at the chance to showcase their skills and share their culture with the international guests who were there. They were so pumped after the performance! They'd never been involved in anything like this before so it was a real eye opener for them and they’d love to do more.”