Thousands welcome waka fleet to Wellington for opening of 2018 New Zealand Festival
7 Nov 2018
The biennial New Zealand Festival is one of the five largest festivals in Australasia. It plays an important role in presenting high-quality works and supporting the development of new works by New Zealand artists, and presenting high quality works from international artists. The 2018 festival welcomed 1,000 artists from 27 countries to Wellington. More than 100,000 people enjoyed free and paid events, including those as part of the Writers Week and SchoolFest programmes.
The festival involves partners across the sector – including many artists and arts organisations, central government agencies, local government, public and private funders, and creative industries partners.
Waka Odyssey was a nine day immersive experience that opened the 2018 festival. Roughly 20,000 people came to the Wellington waterfront to see the arrival of waka from across Moana-nui-a-Kiva (the Pacific) to honour the legacy of the Pacific explorer and navigator Kupe. The Pacific community and local iwi were a core part of the Waka Odyssey’s organisation and production. “Our goal was to connect as many people in the greater Wellington region to the waka, and to put waka right at the heart of mainstream art and culture,” said the Project’s director, Anna Marbrook.