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March 5, 2018 | by  | in News |
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Kick-off to the NZ Festival: Kupe

Kupe, the event that drew thousands to the Wellington Waterfront on Friday 23 February, signalled the start of the 2018 New Zealand Festival.

The event was “inspired by the arrival in Aotearoa of [the] great navigator and explorer Kupe,” and celebrated the shared culture of voyaging between Samoa, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands.

Kupe took place in three parts.

The first focussed on the performers representing Kupe and Kuramarotini on either corner of the waterfront, beckoning to the incoming waka. For the four double-hulled sailing canoes – for the waka hourua – sailing into Wellington Harbour, Kupe was the conclusion of their journey from Auckland, through Tauranga and Napier, which lasted nearly four weeks.

The more abstract and stylized second part of Kupe was the floating representation of the star that guided the first voyagers to New Zealand.

The conclusion of Kupe, the thousand strong haka, welcomed the voyagers into land.

Warren Maxwell, the composer of the event, compared the music he wrote for the event to the work of David Bowie, in its transformation from “being a cultural trip to a galactic adventure”.

The event, involving over a thousand performers including Te Kohe Tuhaka as Kupe and Maisey Rika as Kuramarotini, was planned and executed by A Waka Odyssey creative team consisting of Anna Marbrook, Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr and Kasia Pol.

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