International Dance Day: Student touring with acclaimed dance company

Whitireia Performing Arts student Nazerene Paea will perform today with New Zealand/Samoa choreographer Lemi Ponifasio’s dance company, MAU, at a UNESCO event in Paris to mark International Dance Day 2016.

Performing Arts student Nazerene Paea is touring with dance company MAU

Nazerene, who is in her third and final year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Performing Arts) programme at the Whitireia Performance Centre in Wellington, was selected by Ponifasio himself to join MAU on the group’s current tour of Europe. Whitireia Performing Arts students are expected to develop an extensive knowledge of genres and artistic endeavour in Māori, Samoa, Cook Islands and New Zealand contemporary dance. Performance and international touring are significant parts of the programme, and the experience provides Nazerene with a wonderful opportunity for applied learning. Indeed, this is yet another example of industry engagement and work-integrated learning that gives students at Whitireia a true taste of experiencing life in their chosen industry.

The tour was timed to coincide with the event in Paris, after UNESCO chose Ponifasio to be the official author of this year’s International Dance Day message, putting him in the company of such dance luminaries as Merce Cunningham, William Forsythe, Maurice Bejart, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.

Established in 1982, International Dance Day is promoted by the International Dance Council (CID) and is aimed at attracting attention to the art of dance. The official message for International Dance Day is sent to over 100,000 dance professionals in 200 countries and is translated into dozens of languages.

‘The UNESCO event is also chance to celebrate the amazing work of MAU,’ Nazerene noted prior to leaving. ‘We will be conducting the welcome and will hold a 30-minute performance at the end of the ceremony.’

The company will then head to St. Poelten, Austria, where they will workshop the new work ‘Hine Nui te Po’ and attend performances as guests during the Vienna Festival. From there, they travel to Hannover, Germany, where they will be part of an installation inside Marienburg Castle and perform outdoors at the Herrenhausen Gardens.

Lemi Ponifasio is the author of this year’s International Dance Day Message

International Dance Day Message 2016:


touch the cosmos
the source of our divinity
the face of the ancestors
so we can see our children

woven above
beside below
unite all within
our flesh and bones
and memory

the Earth is turning
humans in mass migration
turtles gather in silent preparation
the heart is injured

make dance
a movement of love
a movement of justice
the light of truth

– Lemi Ponifasio


Whitireia health science student lands perfect job with CCDHB


Alison Kennington says studying on the Whitireia foundation health science programme has helped her land the job she’s been gunning for.

Alison is still three weeks away from completing the Certificate in Foundation Education (Health Science) but has already secured a spot on the Capital & Coast District Health Board’s anaesthetic technician training programme.

While her mum, a couple of aunties and a few cousins are either nurses or midwives, Alison took a little longer to realise that she too was drawn to a career in healthcare. The 30 year-old worked in a variety of jobs following high school before deciding in 2014 that she wanted to be an anaesthetic technician.

She says she looked at a number of courses around the country to help her get onto the path towards this goal, and found that the Whitireia programme ticked all the right boxes.

“It was affordable and looked to be really comprehensive,” says Alison. “It’s proved to be exactly what I needed to equip myself for entry into the anaesthetic technician role.”

While most of the students on the programme are there as a pathway to the Whitireia nursing and paramedic programmes, Alison says it also provides an excellent stepping stone for people looking to enter other areas of healthcare.

“The teaching staff are able to tailor aspects of the programme to suit your objectives after certificate level. It’s really flexible in that respect and the staff are so supportive,” says Alison.

Tutor Allan Wain notes that her success is also down to what he describes as her “single-minded determination.”

Alison will complete the Certificate in Foundation Education (Health Science) after her final exam in mid-November before beginning her anaesthetic technician training at Wellington Hospital on 30 November. We’re very proud of her and wish her all the best for the future.