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Te Wheke

Te Wheke is the powerful legacy work created in 2021 by eight Atamira Dance Company choreographic practitioners and eight dancers, to commemorate 21 years of creating and presenting Māori contemporary dance.

Drawing from their rich dance whakapapa and inspired by the hauora model of Dr Rangimarie Rose Pere, Te Wheke draws on the symbolism of the eight tentacles of the mighty Octopus to explore eight dimensions of the human experience.

“Te Wheke represents the legacy of the many artists who have contributed to Atamira over the years and holds all the hallmarks of what has made our mahi so integral to the dance landscape of Aotearoa” says Artistic Director, Jack Gray.

Solo and ensemble movement expressions occur within a sleek, shape shifting world of floating black silk. Layers of symbolism emanate through accomplished video design, mesmeric soundscapes and subtle shimmering garments, with reflective lighting enhancing moments of darkness and light.


Te Wheke refers to the Octopus, our guardian on this long journey from past into future, activating healing now in this time we all share. Solo and ensemble expressions of darkness and light occur within shape shifting worlds of floating black silk. Layers of symbolism emanate through magical AV patterning and mesmeric soundscapes with lighting enhancing all - both revealing and hiding.

"With this work we embody the symbolic bones of the past as we gesture towards future potential.” says Gray.

Te Wheke is a powerful tohu for many Oceanic peoples, appearing in different mythologies. This guardian of the seas has many strengths and abilities. “When the name ‘Te Wheke came to us we discovered the late Rangimarie Rose Pere’s model of hauora which aligned a Mātauranga Maori dimension of health and wellbeing to each of the eight tentacles. We chose to honour her model in our choreographic structure”, says Executive Director Marama Lloydd

Some of Aotearoa’s leading names in dance are involved in this milestone production, including Sean MacDonald, Taane Mete, Kelly Nash, Jack Gray, Dolina Wehipeihana, Gabrielle Thomas, Kura Te Ua, Bianca Hyslop and Louise Potiki Bryant, who foster the performance of some exceptional experienced and emerging talents. Te Whānau Atamira have come out in force to mark this momentous occasion and to honour the legacy of this incredible company’s colossal contribution to Māori contemporary dance.


Titiro ki muri, haere whakamua

Look back, move forward

"Te Wheke is sublimely fluid and unwaveringly beautiful"

- Meagan Seawright, Theatreview

“A well balanced show that captures the essence of Atamira as a company and their 21-year history…an awesome experience that people need to see”

- Anton Carter, Theatreview

“The integration of generations — of choreography, dancers and ancestors — makes a work that bends time: eras fold into one another”

- Dr Mark James Hamilton, Theatreview

  • 2022
  • -
  • |
  • 2021
  • -
  • ASB Waterfront Theatre
  • ___
  • Kia Mau Festival, Te Whaea - National Dance & Drama Centre
  • ___
  • James Hay Theatre
  • ___
  • Forum North
  • Creative NZ
  • Auckland Council
  • Foundation North
  • ASB Waterfront Theatre
  • Kia Mau Festival
  • Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre
  • Artistic Team
  • Practitioners
  • Performers
  • Designers
  • Concept: Jack Gray and Marama Lloydd
  • Artistic Director: Jack Gray
  • Executive Producer: Marama Lloydd
  • Assistant Directors: Taane Mete, Kelly Nash
  • Dramaturg: Dolina Wehipeihana
  • - Jack Gray (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa)
  • - Bianca Hyslop (Te Arawa)
  • - Taane Mete (Ngāti Kahunganu)
  • - Kelly Nash (Ngāpuhi)
  • - Louise Potiki Bryant (Ngāi Tahu)
  • - Kura Te Ua (Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Te Aitanga a Mahaka, Te Whakatohea, Thuoe)
  • - Gabrielle Thomas (Kāi Tahu, Te Atiawa te Tau Ihu)
  • - Dolina Wehipeihana (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tukorehe)
  • 2021
  • _
  • - Sean MacDonald (Ngati Kahungunu, Rangitane, Raukawa, Tuwharetoa)
  • - Eddie Elliott (Ngati Maniapoto)
  • - Abbie Rogers (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa)
  • - Cory-Toalei Roycroft (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungūnu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kauwhata)
  • - Emma Cosgrave (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whātua)
  • - Caleb Heke (Ngāpuhi)
  • - Oli Mathiesen (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi)
  • - Dana Moore-Mudgway (Te Atiawa, Rangitane, Ngāti Apa, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga)
  • - Brydie Colquhoun (Ngāpuhi)
  • AV: Louise Potiki Bryant
  • Sound: Paddy Free
  • Set: John Verryt
  • Lighting: Vanda Karolczak
  • Wardrobe: Marama Lloydd (Ngati Kahu, Te Rarawa)