After a partial hiatus since 2019, Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival 2023 is back!
And with just two weeks to go until its opening, which also celebrates Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, two of the festival events have already sold out.
Aronui is on from September 11-24 with a range of different events, guaranteed to have something for all.
The festival includes waiata hou, toi māori including painting, carving, kapa haka, art exhibitions, contemporary dance, a Māori Market, the Miss Rotorua Crowning, drama, a rangatahi drag show and much, much more.
Founding Festival Director, Cian Elyse White says one of the sellout events, Kupu Māreikura with Māori author Dr Ngahuia Murphy, sold out within a couple of weeks of the Aronui programme being released.
“The interest in this event was so high that we needed to move it to a bigger venue, with the extra capacity also promptly selling out,” says Cian.
“This is truly an exceptional result for an indigenous Arts Festival and we are absolutely thrilled with the response we’ve received not only from locals, but from people outside our Te Arawa rohe.”
The other sellout event is for the red carpet premiere of TV series Kairākau, produced by Velvet Stone Media and involving more than 300 people, many of whom are locals.
Cian says the other events on the programme are also proving extremely popular, and she urges those interested in seeing the popular new Māori band Coterie, to get tickets soon.
“Coterie will definitely sell out as they are making bold big moves on the global stage. They are one of the hottest new acts coming out of Aotearoa and Australia, and much like Six60’s early concerts in small venues, Coterie’s outing at Aronui will no doubt go down in local history before they really go global.”
Cian says the festival team is feeling motivated and uplifted by the strong interest in the 2023 programme.
“Our inaugural festival in 2019 was a huge success, and we were utterly devastated to have to pull the pin in 2020, 2021 and 2022 due to Covid.
“Other than the mural of our māreikura of film, Merata Mita, created by Mr G in 2001 for Aronui, this is the first full festival since then, and we’ve been blown away by the public response.
“It’s clear that people now have the confidence to come back to live events after Covid which is fantastic.
“The fact that we our exceptional performing arts centre is back open, along with a myriad of other arts venues, means we have been able to create a programme which literally has something for everything. We can’t wait.”
Aronui Chair, Mercia-Dawn Yates, says despite the disruption of the Covid years, the philosophy and commitment of the team and the festival kaupapa remains as strong as it was in 2019 – to uplift, empower and share indigenous arts with the world.
“Aronui is an indigenous arts festival unlike anything else in Aotearoa – and due to its roots embedded within te ao Māori, based in Te Arawa, it’s also unlike anything else in the world.
“In this rebuild year, Aronui remains deeply focused on forging connections with other iwi around the motu, as evidenced by two amazing rangatahi acts from Ngāti Kahungungu, and Perth based band Coterie (Te Aupouri, Ngāpuhi, Ngāi Te Rangi). Coterie will also open with two bands from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata, who are finalists in the national Smokefree Rockquest.
“The future is incredibly bright for Aronui, everyone who is involved and our beautiful city. We’re looking forward to showcasing everything our indigenous arts and culture has to offer. Nau mai, Haere mai”
Check out the full programme here.