Ki te kotahi te kākano ka whati, ki te kāpuia, e kore e whati :: When we stand alone we are vulnerable but together we are unbreakable.

It is with a heavy heart that Tauranga Arts Festival Trust has made the extraordinarily difficult decision to cancel all live performances programmed in the 2021 Tauranga Arts Festival.

Given continued uncertainty, with Auckland still at high alert level, and changing alert level restrictions for events, we cannot deliver our planned festival. We are deeply saddened to make this call. We were excited to offer this 2021 programme to the people of Tauranga Moana but we must prioritise the health and well-being of all those attending, performing and working at the festival, as well as the wider community.

While we certainly support the Government’s decision to apply these restrictions in the face of the Delta variant, the guidelines have significant ramifications for the events and performing arts sectors. Level 2 restrictions that require physical distancing and limit indoor gathering sizes greatly reduce audience capacity, which in turn affects our viability. We are also impacted by uncertainty over artists and staff travelling from Auckland’s higher alert level zone. And of course, we have already lost the essential weeks needed to promote shows, manage logistics and otherwise practically prepare for our massive 10-day undertaking.

Meanwhile, artists have been unable to rehearse or obtain essential materials thanks to shipping and other Covid-related issues.

There is a silver lining. We are thrilled that at Level 2 we can still deliver an event from the heart of this year’s festival, Te Manawataki o Mauao by Riki Gooch with Sonicity. For 10 days, Tauranga Moana residents and Level 2 visitors will be able to experience the rhythmic pulse of Mauao with a walking performance specially commissioned by the festival and specific to our maunga.

In partnership with Supercut Projects, Tauranga Art Gallery and The Elms Te Papa Tauranga, we will also still offer vibrant public and free-to-access artworks, created by both local and national artists. You can see our rich visual arts programme across the CBD, on the streets, at The Elms and, of course, in Tauranga Art Gallery. We hope you enjoy hunting out the works scattered around the central city as they are both a celebration and a reflection of Tauranga Moana. Please visit our website for more information about these events.

Te Manawataki o Mauao by Riki Gooch (Oct 21-31) – download the free Te Manawataki o Mauao app created by Sonicity on to a smart phone, plug in headphones and enjoy a walk on any track on Mauao.
Ngā mihinui o Mauao.

Kete Whakairo by Jo Torr and Tarryn Motutere (Oct 21-31), The Elms

Bruce Connew: A Vocabulary (from Oct 23), Tauranga Art Gallery

Violent Legalities (from Oct 23), Tauranga Art Gallery

Supercut Projects with Tauranga Arts Festival presents:

A Death of Prosperity by Darcell Apelu (coming soon), Tauranga Art Gallery

Echoes: Tauranga Moana by Storybox and Joe Dixon (Oct 22– Nov 12), 91 Willow Street

Brave New World by Nicol Sanders-O’Shea (Oct 18 – Nov 12), Durham Street Flagpoles

Willow Street Project by Sara Hughes (early 2022), Willow Street Bus Shelter

Looking ahead, the Festival team is already working on plans for an expanded version of our Escape! festival over Queen’s Birthday Weekend 2022 and exploring options for other special offerings next year.

All purchased tickets will be fully refundable through Ticketek. They will be in touch with you all directly, and you can read our Covid-19 safe event plans and ticketing policy here. If you do not feel inclined to accept your refund, that money will go back to the Festival to help deliver an expanded Escape! festival next year.

We will no doubt be fielding a lot of questions in the coming days, so we thank you in advance for your patience.

Kia kaha, kia atawhai, kia haumaru,

Your Festival Team