Youth and theatre – museums and social change

Youth and theatre – museums and social change

This past week has seen an important and ground breaking collaboration between The Conch – an internationally successful Pacific Visual Theatre Company lead by Nina Nawalowalo and Te Papa. Through the Conchus Youth and Advocacy programmes The Conch is engaging the potential of theatre to affect social change, to serve as a vehicle for the positive advancement of Pacific peoples.

Tom McCrory, Nathaniel Lees, Nina Nawalowalo,
Tom McRory, Nina Nawalowalo, Nathaniel Lees

Led by three of the most experienced acting teachers, actors and theatre directors in the country Maiava Nathaniel Lees (Siones Wedding, The Matrix) Nina Nawalowalo (Artistic Director The Conch and Tom McCrory (former head of the Movement program at Toi Whakaari, The NZ Drama School), this programme has involved workshops in Porirua, The Hutt Valley and Wellington Central – with the aim of making a final selection of talent to form Conchus Youth Physical Theatre Company in February 2015.

Conchus youth - in the Pacific Cultures Collections store room
Conchus youth – in the Pacific Cultures Collections store room

The Conch invited Maori and Pasifika youth from Wellington High School, Rongotai College, Tawa College, Wellington East Girls College and Wesley Methodist Church Youth groups to participate in this week’s workshop at Te Papa. Nina and her team have been focussing on harnessing the talent and energy of the youth, building self-awareness and instilling confidence. Activities involved visiting the Pacific Cultures, History and Taonga Maori collection storerooms, sessions on stories and movement. It will end with a public performance and Fono here at Te Papa.

Herbert Bartley (Te Papa), Nina, Tom, Ati Teepa (Te Papa)
Herbert Bartley (Te Papa), Nina, Tom, Ati Teepa (Te Papa)

Tomorrow, inspired by their access to the Te Papa collections, the workshop participants will create and present their personal perceptions and thinking as it relates to their cultural and community identities. This will be followed by a Fono – community meeting – led by Maiava Nathaniel Lees. Please come and join us…

Conchus Youth
Conchus Youth

Conch Theatre, Performance and Fono

Theme: How can the Arts develop and refine the personal and communal understanding of Identity in our youth?

When (date/s): Oct 3 2014

When (start + end time/s) Performance: 3pm-4pm, Fono: 4pm-5 pm

Where: Te Marae

Cost: Free entry


  1. Awesome kaupapa! I saw their performance on the Friday and those rangatahi were amazing!

    Nga mihi nui ki a koutou xx

    1. Author

      thank you for coming along and supporting the kaupapa Chrissie. It was great to see the potential in our youth and the potential for theatre in the museum setting. Thank you for checking in on the blog and commenting.

      Sean Mallon ( Senior Curator Pacific Cultures)

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