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Atamira Dance Company

Atamira Dance Company is the leading creator and presenter of Māori contemporary dance theatre from Aotearoa New Zealand. The work embodies a unique artistic landscape shaped by the cultural identity of our people and their stories. We are driven by choreographic and design excellence in an ever-expanding repertoire of local and cross-cultural dance works.

Atamira Dance Company are leading international creators of contemporary dance and performance. We are based in Aotearoa New Zealand, a remote and wild landscape where indigenous Māori stories are a powerful voice in the arts locally and, increasingly, internationally. As a dance collective, we offer a rich and diverse programme guided by high calibre choreographers. Our research-based practice keeps us at the forefront of cultural and technical innovation, a process of deep collaboration and genuine openness to risk-taking and experimentation. Single choreographic dance works are the heartbeat of the company, which we perform at international arts festivals across the globe. Audiences have experienced unforgettable performances by dancers driven by a strong vision. We are here to celebrate and share our Māori culture through the arts, and to grow the arts through cultural innovation. As well as single dance works, we have created a number of important large-scale performances in collaboration with other arts organisations.


  • A movement of collaboration
  • Past - Present - Future
  • - Tūhono
  • - Hou
  • - Huarahi
  • - Taumata
  • - Te Ao

A movement of collaboration

Atamira is integral to the contemporary Māori performing arts conversation and movement, with collaborators from diverse creative fields within and without the dance sector. An exciting network of moving image artists, folk artists, set designers, poets, philosophers, costume designers, photographers, and musicians all challenge and influence our work. The foundation and impulse for all this creative work is our understanding of Māori world view. And evolving our ongoing connection with Tikanga Māori (protocols and values) today.

Past - Present - Future

Acknowledging past and present while defining the future.

Achieving power and richness in performance requires a strong and diverse research practice, and wananga (workshops) are thus core part of our practice at home in Aotearoa and abroad. Research actively re-forms and re-shapes our ideas and understanding. As a celebration of diversity, innovation, dance, performance, and technology, Atamira dancers and collaborators create from a continuum of stories, interpretation, and memory. By mapping cultural processes with modern choreographic processes, we acknowledge the impacts of the past on the present while continuously defining our future. Our dance collective is constantly growing and evolving. We take risks. We challenge each other. And through these beautiful physical, spiritual, intellectual, and collaborative processes, we find ever new expressions of the culture that can serve to enlighten all of us.

- Tūhono

Tūhono is a strand for wānanga (Māori cultural practice and knowledge exchange). Atamira company members connect with expert cultural practitioners to discuss, experiment and learn from Matauranga Māori (knowledge and skills embracing Māori world-view concepts) including language, song, prayer, ceremony, oratory and storytelling. Tuhono is where we embody Atamira’s unique tikanga/values through workshop activities (in studio, on marae, in nature). It is a space where dancers gain a deeper insight into Indigenous creation stories, spirituality, historic and contemporary relationships to people and land.

- Hou

Hou is an annual strand for choreographic and artistic development. This is a supported process of investigation and refinement for choreographic experimentation and development of methodologies and concepts. Choreographers utilise foundations of cultural practice to develop ideas that are enmeshed with their whakapapa (past, present and future lineages and convergences), as well as embarking on their own unique pathway.

- Huarahi

Huarahi Is Atamira's annual touring NZ programme strand - presenting Matauranga Māori through dance to diverse audiences. Huarahi aims to not only broaden audience perspectives of Māori contemporary dance but also to increase and encourage accessibility for regional Māori populations to attend a theatrical presentation by Māori artists.

- Taumata

Taumata is the presentation strand which brings together the highest quality knowledge and skills of the choreographers, dancers and designers. This place of elevation is where Atamira showcases it’s unique world view and brings the best of contemporary Māori dance to the nation and the world. Works can range from to short to medium choreographic works presented by a stand-alone choreographer or as a collective showcase in a mixed bill, up to large-scale choreographic works often in an artistic co-production with a collaborative partner or organisation.

- Te Ao

Te Ao is Atamira's international programme which includes: researching target markets, presenting overseas and hosting residencies in Aotearoa for international choreographers. Ki te Ao is about creating engaged relationships with international presenters, partners, organisations and institutions that enable us to take our work into different cultural contexts. Mai te Ao invites a high profile, international Indigenous guest choreographer to be in residence with the company sharing repertory and workshops with the intent to develop a new work with the company.

  • Kaitiaki - Trustees
  • Whakapā mai - Contact us
  • Pae pāpāho pāpori - Social media

Kaitiaki - Trustees

The Atamira Dance Collective Charitable Trust was formed in 2007 to support the growth of Atamira.

Dolina Wehipeihana
Ngāti Raukawa, Ngati Tūkorehe

With a background as a professional dancer and a founding member of Atamira, Dolina was Auckland Arts Festival’s Head of Programming from 2012-202. A strong advocate for contemporary indigenous theatre and dance, she is currently the Kaiārahi Māori of PANNZ (Performing Arts Network New Zealand) and the General Manager of Kia Mau Festival, a member of the Tri-Nations Curatorial Advisory group and a member of the APP group (Asia Producers Platform). Through her company Betsy & Mana Productions, Dolina has produced White Face Crew, Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen’s The Mooncake and the Kumara and Kirk Torrance’s Flintlock Musket. She has also produced with Indian Ink, NZ Dance Company, and was a member of the PANNZ executive committee from 2016 – 2018. Dolina has toured New Zealand work to Australia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and Edinburgh. She is a member of National Maori Theatre Steering Committee He Waka Urungi, and was on the steering committee of the last National Maori Dance Summit. Her creative background includes dancing with Atamira, Black Grace, Touch Compass and independent choreographers and projects such as the Limbs Retrospective and Maui One Man Against the Gods. Dolina's choreographic works includes The Beautiful Ones written by Hone Kouka, and the Poi E Thriller dance in the movie BOY.

Paul Mclaney
Deputy Chair

Paul McLaney (born 1975 in Stockton-on-Tees, England) has worked as a recording artist for 25 years producing over 18 albums with collaborations with numerous New Zealand musicians such as Concord Dawn, Anika Moa, Module, Rhian Sheehan, James Duncan, Fly My Pretties, Dick "Majik" Johnson, Epsilon Blue and SJD.. He has released albums under his own name and under the moniker "Gramsci". He has amassed a large body of work as a composer for Theatre and Dance working as Musical Director for The World of Wearable Art and The Pop-up Globe.
His engagement with the Publishing Industry began as Managing Director of Mushroom Publishing before moving into a consultancy role in the sector with clients such as Native Tongue and NZ On Air.
He is a longstanding board member of The New Zealand Music Commission and advocates for Intellectual Property Rights in the Music Industry.

Dr Moana Nepia
Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Rongowhakaata

A founding board member, Moana Nepia has had a long career encompassing the fields of visual and performing arts. He has been a dancer, choreographer and video artist, designer, and is currently a Senior Lecturer at AUT University. Former roles include being the Arts Editor for The Contemporary Pacific - A Journal of Island Affairs, Assistant Professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and Trustee for Orotokare and DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand). As a dancer he performed with Impulse Dance Theater in NZ, the Royal NZ Ballet, Extemporary Dance Theater (UK), Dance Advance (UK), Vienna Festival Ballet, English National Opera. He choreographed for the Royal NZ Ballet, Dance Advance, Taiao, Footnote Dance Company, Atamira Dance Company, the inaugural Honolulu Biennial in 2017, devised choreographic projects for Education departments of the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and London City Ballet Companies, and Youth Dance companies throughout the UK. His PhD from AUT University was the first creative and interdisciplinary practice-led doctoral thesis rooted in Māturanga Māori. Moana is also a swimmer and athlete and won a gold and two silver medals at the 2010 World Gay Games in Cologne in swimming, discus and shotput.

Wendy Preston MZSM

Wendy has over 39 years of professional involvement in the arts. Her early career was in contemporary dance – as a dancer and teacher for the Limbs Dance Company and as an independent artist, choreographer/director and performing arts educator. As a young woman she engaged through cross-cultural creativity with diverse communities around the world, studying and dancing in Bali, India, Papua New Guinea, Rarotonga and Aotearoa.In the 1980s she had a close association with pioneering contemporary Maori dance companies Te Kanikani O Te Rangatahi and Taiao. She was a founding co-director of the Performing Arts School of NZ, a member of faculty for the Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts and a founder and inaugural Venue Manager of TAPAC (The Ak Performing Arts Centre). Wendy has worked extensively with rangatahi primarily with Te Whanau Apanui on marae-based projects and also with Pacifica youth in South Auckland schools. In 2006 she founded Mixit, an arts project that uses creativity to support former refugee youth, which she continues to produce and direct. In 2018 Wendy was awarded a Queens Honor for her services through performing arts with young people.

Puawai Cairns
Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga

Puawai Cairns (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga) is Director of Audience and Insight at Te Papa Tongarewa, overseeing the public facing work of the national museum. Puawai has a curatorial and research background, and previously was the Head of Mātauranga Māori for Te Papa, where she specialised in contemporary social history research and collecting to reflect the stories of Māori communities. She co-wrote a book on the material culture of protest called “Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of resistance, persistence and defiance” (Te Papa Press, 2018. 2019 Ockham book award for Best Illustrated Fiction), and continues to advise nationally and internationally on museum practices, advocating for greater indigenous participation and leadership in the heritage sector.

Whakapā mai - Contact us

We present our work at large and small scale, adapted and customised for unique programmes and venues. Contact our Executive Director Marama Lloydd and Artistic Director Jack Gray to discuss your upcoming project or festival.

Jack Gray
Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa
Artistic Director
+64 21 197 0833
+64 9 838 5780

Marama Lloydd
Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa
Executive Director
+64 21 262 1288
+64 9 838 5780

Atamira Dance Company
Corban Estate Arts Centre
2 Mount Lebanon Lane
Henderson, 0612
P.O Box 21019
Henderson, 0650
Auckland, New Zealand

Pae pāpāho pāpori - Social media