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Ka Haka: Māori and Indigenous Performance Studies Symposium 2019

  • The Cultural Conservancy Building 1016, 1st Floor, 1016 Lincoln Blvd The Presidio National Park, San Francisco, CA USA (map)

Ka Haka 2019 is hosted by Te Ara Poutama - the Faculty of Māori & Indigenous Development at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and the Cultural Conservancy in San Francisco, with support from Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga (University of Auckland).

The first Ka Haka Māori and Indigenous Performance Studies Symposium – ‘Empowering Performance’ – brought together academics and artists at AUT in 2016 as a way of providing a platform for exploring the enormous, as-yet largely untapped, body of knowledge stored within Māori performance, from the traditional to the contemporary, and from the popular to the avant-garde. Ka Haka 2018 – ‘Old Ways of Knowing, New Ways of Doing’ – followed as part of the International Indigenous Research Conference, hosted by Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga. Proceedings from Ka Haka 2016 and Ka Haka 2018 were published by Te Kaharoa – the eJournal on Indigenous Pacific Issues (

Now, for the first time, Ka Haka leaves Aotearoa for Turtle Island. Co-hosted by The Cultural Conservancy in San Francisco, we are looking forward to expanding and deepening our conversation on the relationship between Indigenous performance and culture.

Event Details:

Location: The Cultural Conservancy
Building 1016, 1st floor, 1016 Lincoln Blvd
The Presidio National Park
San Francisco

It's about the land!

Indigenous performance often serves to embody and convey power: social, cultural, political, personal, and ecological. In this, we attribute power to performance, and we see performance as potentially empowering of Indigenous people(s) in terms that are both affirmational and activist.

As Diana Taylor fervently argues in Presente! (PMLA 2018), performance reverberates and accumulates: ‘making presence, making memory, making space for alternative visions of livable lives’ (489). Performance calls the land into being, and ourselves upon it. In Aotearoa New Zealand, we recognise the significance of tūrangawaewae (a place to stand) as something as something maintained on marae and also performed on stages such as Te Matatini, the biannual Kapa Haka festival. In the USA, we see the protests at Standing Rock and the Berkeley Shellmound, for example, as providing paradigmatic platforms for the meeting of the performative with the political. Through performance, local, national, and global Indigenous movements find ways to take a stand on the land, to claim sovereignty, to assert a rightful place in history, marking the present as a culmination of the past in order to transform the future.

For Ka Haka 2019, participants will stake a position in a conversation about the relationship between performance, power and land in the development of Māori and Indigenous identities and communities. What might it mean to perform the act of taking a stand on the land? What can contemporary Indigenous performance make present for us: socially, culturally, politically, personally, ecologically? How, that is, is performance performative – constructive of memory and identity, of time and place? How does performance re-connect Indigenous peoples to the land? Conversely, how might performance serve to un-settle the colonial identification with and attachment to land? As the climate shifts and with it the earth on which we stand, how can Indigenous performance in the 21st century be seen to touch on commonalities across the differences and particularities of cultures, peoples and places worldwide? As we gather our acts of performance, bringing our words and dances into the Ka Haka meeting space, how can we come together in celebration, rise from our own places into a place of unification?

Schedule Outline:
(See the full schedule here)
Thursday 14 Nov - 9am-4pm - Welcome, Alcatraz 50th, Lunch, Symposium, Panel

Friday 15 Nov - 9am-9.30pm - Conversations, Panels, Performances

Saturday 16 Nov - 9am-2:30pm - Conversations, Panel, Closing

Presenters and Topics
(See full Presenters and Abstracts here)

Tāwhanga Nopera’s Māori (Queer) Performance as Space and Time-making
Amelia Jones - University of Southern California

Exploring Hiakim: The Movement of Land and People
Edwardo F. Madril (Pascua Yaqui) - San Francisco State University
Sara Moncada (Yaqui) - The Cultural Conservancy

When giving back the land is not enough!
Ella Henry (Ngātikahu ki Whangaroa, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kurī) - Auckland University of Technology
Hohepa Spooner (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Hineuru) - Auckland University of Technology

Pepeha: Performing a connection to people and place in Aotearoa New Zealand
Hēmi Kelly (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whāoa) - Auckland University of Technology

Taku ahi tū tata, taku mata kīkoha: Rekindling ahi kā and tūrangawaewae connections
Jamie Cowell (Waikato/Ngāti Porou) - Auckland University of Technology

Chaac & Yum: A Two-Spirit Dance Project with Snowflake Towers (Yoeme, Tzeltal Mayan)
Javier Stell-Fresquez (Piru & Tigua Pueblos, Xicanx, British, Spanish) - The Cultural Conservancy

Staging ʻŌlelo Hawai‘i: Hawaiian Theatre at the University ofHawai‘i Mānoa
Jenna Gerdsen - University of Maryland

Indigenous Language Learning Through Theatre
Kirsten Sadeghi-Yekta - University of Victoria, BC, Canada

Dancing Through Sacred Ground
Māhealani Uchiyama - Mahea Uchiyama Center for International Dance

Te Tangi o ngā Manu Tū Rangatira (Our chiefly birds speak out!)
Romana Tekaharoa Potts (Ngāti Kurī, Muriwhenua) - Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

The fix is in: Colonial Combat
Sharon Mazer - Auckland University of Technology

Te Pae o te Riri
Te Rita Papesch (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakauē) - Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Technology, Ceremony, and The Sacred: Visioning Ourselves into the Future
Timoteo I. Montoya II (Lipan Apache) - The Cultural Conservancy

Mate kāinga tahi, haka kāinga rua – The world is my marae, the world is my stage: The role of kapa haka in perpetuating Māori identity and culture abroad
Valance Smith (Te Parawhau, Te Uriroroi, Te Mahurehure, Ngāti Mahuta) - Auckland University of Technology
Erana Foster (Tainui/Waikato, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Hako) - Auckland University of Technology

Te Wairua o Pou Kapua: A Living Embodiment of Haka
Wikuki Kingi (Te Whanau a Apanui, Tainui, Ngai Tahu, Hawaii) - Pou Kapua Creations, GRID Pacific, Whaotapu Trust, Auckland University of Technology
Tania Haerekiterā Wolfgramm (Whakatohea, Te Aupouri, Ngai Tai, Vava’u Tonga) - Pou Kapua Creations, GRID Pacific, Hakamana, Auckland University of Technology
Rachel Maunganui Wolfgramm (Whakatohea, Te Aupouri, Ngai Tākoto, Vava’u Tonga) - Pou Kapua Creations, University of Auckland School of Business

Contact us about this event:
Sara Moncada (The Cultural Conservancy):
Sharon Mazer (Te Ara Poutama):

—>—>—>Register here

More information here on Auckland Institute of Technology’s site

Earlier Event: October 5
Fall Harvest Gathering