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Atawhai Festival
Auckland and Wellington
18 September 2018 - 27 October 2018

Atawhai festival for mental health and wellbeing began in 2015. It came about in response to many conversations and concerns voiced from across the performing arts landscape. Atawhai is a festival created to help in the response needed for education around suicide prevention, and to raise awareness of issues that affect our mental health and wellbeing.

2018 will see the festival in its fourth incarnation. Atawhai continues to build from its education and health promotion through performance success; by broadening its aim to include not only those who build Auckland’s creative economy, but Wellington as well! The festival will maintain its original format at Te Pou but is now functioning from Monday September 17th through to Saturday October 27th. Curation for the 2018 schedule is set, and amongst all our other mahi, we are excited to be supporting emerging writers (from varied disciplines) with lived experience, to build their work and network systems. Atawhai ’s focus is multi-faceted and remains as pliable as ever. Bring it 2018!

BREATHE by Daniel Goodwin

September 18-22 – 8pm – BATS Theatre (Wellington) – Bookings at

Living with schizophrenia isn’t that bad. It’s like being in Harry Potter except it’s not and it sucks. You didn’t get a wand and the snakes still talk. What a rip-off, right?

PAPER PLANES by Aaron Richardson

October 2-6 – 6.30pm – Basement Theatre (Auckland) – Bookings at

A girl, a bedroom and a dog. Oh and puppets, there’s puppets too.

Produced by Physica Theatre Company, supported by Taurima Vibes Ltd and the Atawhai Festival

ALL GOOD by Isaac Te Reina, Director Whetu Silver

September 25-29 –  8pm– Basement Theatre (Auckland) – Bookings at

October 9-13 – 6pm – BATS Theatre (Wellington) – Bookings at

A young fiesty Parekura and a passionate dream chasing Ra re-unite on a night out in the town. Their past rekindles a kind, odd romance again while they enjoy the night.

THE OCTOBER GIG: 11th annual Mental Health Musical Jamboree

October 11th – 6pm – Ponsonby Baptist Church (Auckland) – Tickets available at the door

Johnny Mateson from the Mental Health Foundation curates an evening of performances from members of the mental health sector

PŪREREHUA: Spoken Word evening in honour of Michelle Durey

October 17 – 7.30pm – Garnet Station (Auckland) – Koha entry:

A tribute to Michelle Durey, the creator of Atawhai’s first spoken word evening. Pūrerehua or ‘butterfly’ is an evening of spoken word poetry and conversation around mental health.

Greg Fleet Live

October 3 – 13 7.30pm – Various venues including The Classic

All details at


October 24, 25, 26 – 7.30pm – Te Pou Theatre (Auckland) – Bookings at

Maniac (On The Dance Floor) is a comedy dance-lipsync extravaganza about happiness, unhappiness and making a song and dance about it.

Our aim is to bridge the gap between community engagement, and professional performance.

Using these creative partnerships prove to be an amazing, powerful tool for communication allowing authentic voices to be heard in the way they wish to be heard.

All our mahi is focused around the ideals of manaakitanga, safety and supported with our directors cultural grounding in Tikānga Māori . We ‘walk alongside’ everyone we engage with to create the right space and environment for not only the individual, but the collective al lowing the authenticity of the voice and kaupapa to be central. The arts are used as a gateway tool to self-empowerment, confidence, enrichment, self-respect and dignity.

We have a strong focus on wellbeing, mental health awareness, destigmatising negative social perceptions and creating strong connections. Our aim is to help facilitate ease and implement structure in a way that is pliable whilst allowing the ability for any structured pathway to be followed. We love our mahi and are honoured to walk alongside those who have invited us along for the ride!

“Storytelling in this way allows people to relate on a personal level to experiences we otherwise find difficult to talk about” Allan says, “usually diagnoses distance people, seeing distress as medical or clinical can ‘other’ people. The fourth wall gives the audience a safe space to get to know characters and see their experiences explained by context and environment.”

– Changing Minds CEO, Taimi Allan.

Atawhai Brochure
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