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Tauranga Arts Festival 2021

Thomas Monckton in the family show 'The Artist'.
21 Oct 2021 to 31 Oct 2021
Winning minds and arts for 22 years
Event type: 
Comedy, Music, Theatre
Baycourt, Carrus Crystal Palace (Baycourt lawn)
38 Durham Street, Tauranga
Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty


Artistic director Gabrielle Vincent says that in her programming she was drawn to "live experiences that lift us up and show us that there is always a new and unexpected way to see the world”. 

“So many of these artists are only on our shores because they can’t tour the world right now,” Vincent said at the programme launch on August 5. “Sometimes I forget how lucky we are just to be in a room together."

The programme comprises comedy, theatre, family shows, music, speakers and workshops, as well as a Schools Festival. Here are just some of the highlights, but please do go and look at the full festival programme to find the event that's right for you.

A show unique to the Tauranga festival is News News News which sees Mount Maunganui Primary School students broadcasting live in front of a studio audience in Baycourt and a potential internet audience of millions. A television show made by children for adults, New News News will offer a distinctive look at what's going on right here, right now (October 30-31).

The festival has commissioned a soundscape, Te Manawataki o Mauao, composed by Riki Gooch, for the base track and at the summit of Mauao which will be available at any time of day or night during the festival via a free Sonicity app. Simply download the app, take your smartphone, plug in headphones and geolocators will do the rest. Gooch describes the soundscape as 'meditative' and meshing beautifully with the natural surroundings (October 21-31).

Among the music line-up is a very special event – Che Fu taking to the stage with The Kratez for a 20th anniversary performance of his seminal album, ‘The Navigator’ (October 30). Meanwhile, Country music features in two very different ways – comedic singer Wilson Dixon, who sold out a the 2019 festival, is back with a new show on October 23, Put the Gun Down Jethro! (and other happy memories from recent family gatherings), while Tami Neilson brings The F Word, a show that examines the anti-feminism that has pervaded the genre for so long. (October 24)

Novelist, memoirist and more recently retelling Māori myths, Witi Ihimaera narrates Floating Islands, a concept show based on his books 'Māori Boy' and 'Navigating the Stars'. Also appearing are soprano Mere Boynton and musician Kingsley Spargo. (October 29). Witi then joins the Speaker programme on October 30 to appear in two sessions, one with Que Bidois, a collector of Tauranga Moana myths, and one with memoir-writer Alison Jones. Other speakers include former politician Margaret Wilson, art historian Penelope Jackson, forensic pathologist Cynric Temple-Camp, novelist Catherine Chidgey, personal finance expert Mary Holm, and poet and GP Glenn Coloquhoun (Speaker weekend October 30-31).

Cian Parker’s outstanding one-woman show Sorry for your Loss will be performed in Katikati (October 28) and Te Puke (October 29). Although the show sounds dark on paper, Parker says, it is full of uplift and light, as is Hello Darkness, a one-man play based on the writings of the late Peter Wells (October 26-27).

Two writing workshops are being offered – Writing Romance 101 with best-selling author Bronwen Evans (October 23), and Turning Memory into Memoir with Jo Morris (October 24).

The popular Tauranga Fringe family day returns to the Historic Village on October 23, and Willow Street, including Tauranga Art Gallery, will be alive with a free visual arts programme throughout the month of October.


Written by

Sandra Simpson

4 Aug 2021