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Internationally renowned choreographer Lemi Ponifasio awarded 2013 Samoa artist-in-residence

16 Jul 2013

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Internationally recognised Samoan choreographer and director Lemi Ponifasio will undertake a three-month artist residency at the National University of Samoa from August to October.

The residency, a partnership established between Creative New Zealand and the university in 2006, offers New Zealand resident Pacific artists the opportunity to develop their potential, skills and practice.

As part of his residency, Lemi will present a series of lectures and workshops to National University of Samoa students. He will also develop a dance and theatre programme at the university based on the work of his internationally acclaimed company MAU, and plans to continue supporting the programme after the residency. Lemi will also carry out research into future projects by MAU. 

Lemi is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished performing artists, with his innovative work presented at the most prestigious arts festivals in the world.

“We are thrilled and honoured to have Lemi undertake this residency. He is a pioneer in the development of contemporary theatre and dance, and takes the unique voice of Pasifika peoples and our communities to the world,” says Chair of Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Committee Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

“Lemi also holds a Samoan matai chief title, Salā, and this makes his selection even more special for Pacific arts.”

Lemi is the founder and director of MAU, New Zealand's most prolific international contemporary dance and theatre company. He is known for his radical approach to theatre, dance and civic activism. Lemi’s work is sought after world-wide, presenting at major theatres and festivals internationally, including Theatre de la Ville Paris, Holland Festival, Southbank Centre London, the Venice Biennale, the Lincoln Center New York, Edinburgh International Festival, and also throughout the Pacific Islands. Lemi received the ‘Senior Pacific Artist Award’ at last year’s Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifika Awards.

The annual Creative New Zealand and the National University of Samoa Artist-in-Residence provides up to $15,000 for an artist’s stipend, accommodation and travel costs. Established by the Pacific Arts Committee of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, previous recipients include the Vahine Collective, Tiffany Singh, Jim Vivieaere, Nathaniel Lees, and Fiona Collins.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Jasmyne Chung
Communications Adviser, Creative New Zealand
T +64 4 498 0727 | M +64 27 838 8868