May 10, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Pacific dance icon headlines 21st bash

2 min read

Samoandance icon, Neil Ieremia, is one of the headline acts in a showcase being dubbed in New Zealand dance circles as the ‘contemporary dance event of the year’.

The showcase: A Life Between Us, celebrates 21 years of the Unitec dance programme and opens at the Maidment Theatre in Auckland this week on Thursday, 18 November.

Ieremia has returned to choreograph one of hisrecent works for the showcase called PatiPati.

He joins four other of New Zealand’s top dance choreographers; Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh, Chris Jannides and Malia Johnston, who have also devised works for the showcase.

The Unitec dance programme started in 1989 as the Performing Arts School. Prominent Pacific dance personality, Sefa Enari was among the first group of foundation students.

Ieremia, 40, is a graduate of the dance programme in 1991. The Wellington born Samoan formed Black Grace in 1995 and has since gone on to establish himself in the vanguard of New Zealand’s most accomplished choreographers. His piece PatiPati debuted in Switzerland, 2009.

“This work is a mixture of excerpts from older repertoire that utilises body percussion influenced by traditional Samoan Sasa (seated dance) and Fa’ataupati (slap dance),” he says.

“Movement segments, dance phrases and motifs have evolved from past full-length works, including; Relentless, inspired by children’s hand games as well as gestures taken from personal stories about child abuse (1995); the self-titled debut season Black Grace, a work exploring male stereotyping in the Pacific (1995); Fia Ola, a piece about the challenges Pacific Islanders face when they leave their traditional homes to settle in New Zealand (1998); and Amata, a work choreographed for 12 women (2007).”

What’s on: A Life Between Us: Celebrating 21 years of Unitec dance

Featuring: Neil Ieremia, Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh, Chris Jannides, Malia Johnston and Unitec dance students.

When: 18-21 November, 7pm

Where: The Maidment Theatre, 8 Alfred St, University of Auckland

How: Book tickets at or call (09) 308 2383

direct link:
For interviews or more info:

Peter Rees
E: [email protected]
T: (09) 815 4321 ext. 7284
M: 021 1090 553

1 thought on “Pacific dance icon headlines 21st bash

  1. sounds like a great show. I'm an old friend of Shona McCullagh and was wondering if it would be posible to get in touch with her (or send my email address)? It's been a very long time!


    tim walker

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