Marae in the Sky to celebrate Matariki July 14 and July 15. Photo / David St George
One of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most revered dancers and choreographers, Taane Mete, will present his new performance Marae in the Sky at the Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki next weekend.
Marae in the Sky has been commissioned and created exclusively for Matariki and will be performed on Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15. The show has taken nine months to create, merging reimagined representations of true stories and Māori mythology.
“The performance is inspired by the Matariki whetū (star) and its connection to the wellbeing of humanity and the earth,” said Mete ( Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura).
“The journey is a full immersion of music, song and dance assisted by a story of connection and aroha. I hope there is a moment to appreciate ancient storytelling poetically woven with movement.”
Mete has fond memories of visiting the whare and local Rainbow collective from the 1990s, Marae in the Sky, which also served as inspiration for the performance.
“Marae in the Sky represents a special whare that was a real place situated in Lorne St, Auckland, in the 1990s.”
The collective became a hub of political activism, particularly in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and the practice of tikanga in the Auckland CBD.
“I have transformed true stories of that time and created a performance with a mystical whare that floats in the clouds between the landmass of Papatūānuku and the celestial realm. A sacred house that welcomes all from past, present and those yet to come.”
Mete, born and raised in Napier, was first introduced to dance through kapa haka with whānau and friends and experienced Dupree Jazz at the age of 15. The discovery initiated his pathway towards formal training at the New Zealand School of Dance, where he graduated with honours majoring in contemporary dance.
Mete is influenced by mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and his artistic expression informs his wairua (spiritual) practice as a dancer, yoga teacher and massage body worker. The focus on Māori mythology in his work has become more prominent over the past 10 years.
“[Māori mythology] is a territory that I’m familiar with, but there is scope to research deeper and use it as a vessel to create work.”
Recently he has launched his own creative company as Kaihanga Auaha – Creative Producer, Kaiwhakahaere Toi Auaha – Creative Artistic Director and Kaiwhakahaere Kanikani – Choreographer and dancer of Te Toi Hauora – The Art of Healing.
“The launch of Te Toi Hauora – The Art of Healing feels like I’ve finally arrived at my destined waka. I’m currently rebranding my unique wellness company which specialises in holistic wellbeing and creating high-quality performance of dance, singing, and live music inspired by Māori culture and storytelling. I’m weaving ancient Māori knowledge with contemporary ideas to create profound and transformative experiences that promote wellness and healing,” Mete said.
“My art form is designed to bring together the power of art and culture to promote mindfulness, connection, and physical and emotional wellbeing. I love working with different mediums. It’s a place I really feel at home.”
Marae in the Sky will be performed by Taane Mete from Te Toi Hauora – The Art of Healing (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura), waiata sung by Taisha Tari (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi), violin performed by Peau Halapua (Lapaha, Mu’a; and Hihifo, Niuatoputapu; Kingdom of Tonga) and original composition by Josh Clark (Ngāpuhi).
Marae in the Sky will be presented at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki on July 14 and 15 at 12pm and 2pm. Admission is free, but the event has limited capacity.