We cannot wait to share the full programme with you, but for now: mark your calendars for 21 - 31 October when our much loved festival returns with a full programme in different venues across central Whakatū, including the Mask Carnivale on Friday 29 October.

After so much of 2020 had to be spent apart, we will focus on and hold space for meaningful connections this year. 

We look forward to (re)connecting with our local community and introducing arts experiences from around Aotearoa (and further afield) that will leave your hearts and minds full and curious for more.

Before we launch our full programme in early August, we are thrilled to announce that the award-winning The Haka Party Incident will come to Whakatū for their Te Waipounamu South Island premiere as part of a national tour.

Photo: Andi Crown Photography

The last New Zealand war took place in Auckland in 1979. It lasted three minutes.

The Haka Party Incident by Katie Wolfe, presented by Auckland Theatre Company in partnership with Tour-Makers, resurrects the eventful day in 1979 when a group of University of Auckland engineering students rehearsing their annual tradition of a mock haka were confronted by the activist group, He Taua. The incident sent ripples through the nation and changed race relations in Aotearoa forever. 

Crafted by film-maker and theatre director Katie Wolfe (The Mooncake and the Kumara, Waru, He Māngai Wāhine, Artefact), The Haka Party Incident is verbatim theatre that innovatively combines documentary and kapa haka to thrilling effect. 

Trust us, this is a not-to-be-missed landmark theatre event.

Tickets will be available from our website (alongside the rest of our programme) from 10am on Friday 6th August.

Until then, let’s connect: 

Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te roiroa.
Let us keep close together, not wide apart.

Enrolments are open for our much-loved, annual Mask Carnivale - click here for more information and to enrol your fabulous self or your fantastic group of performers. 

We look forward to seeing you soon. As always, thank you for your support, arts lovers.


Lydia, Rose, Shanine & the Nelson Arts Festival team.

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