What’s On: March and April Highlights


There’s a little something for everyone this March and April.

Compiled by: Ann Warnock


Te Rā: Navigating Home

Te Rā (The Sail), makers unknown (c. 1770–1800).

When: To 26 May
Where: Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum
Web: aucklandmuseum.com

It’s the first time Te Rā — the only customary Māori sail in existence — has returned to Aotearoa in its more than 200- year history. Held in the collection of the British Museum,

Te Rā (four-and-a-half-metres long) is accompanied by two additional sails, Hine Mārama and Māhere Tū ki te Rangi, created by Te Rā Ringa Raupā — a group of artisans mentored by weaver, installation artist and researcher, Dr Maureen Lander.


Fibrous Soul

Sorawit Songsataya, research image (2023).

When: 2 March to 16 June
Where: Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth
Web: govettbrewster.com

Works by Aotearoa-based artist Sorawit Songsataya map recent periods living between Te Waipounamu, Taranaki, Thailand and Britain and explore themes of journeys across timescales, sites and species. Alongside Songsataya’s work is a new installation by Parihaka-based artist and leader Maata Wharehoka, who has been instrumental in the regeneration of kahu whakatere — tikitanga Māori death and burial practices. The work features braided harakeke and muka taura, referencing ongoing efforts to normalise and revitalise cultural practice.


Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

By Arrangement with ORiGiN Theatrical on behalf of Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals Company.

When: 2 March to 16 April
Where: The Court Theatre, Ōtautahi Christchurch
Web: courttheatre.org.nz

American playwright Ken Ludwig’s adaption of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery delivers glamour, suspense and comedy. Plot: Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning, it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment, and everyone on board is a suspect.

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What they didn’t teach me at school: Richard Lewer — The Waikato Wars

What they didn’t teach me at school, (2023).

When: 22 February to 12 May
Where: New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Pōneke Wellington
Web: nzportraitgallery.org.nz

A new body of work by Hamilton-born Melbourne-based artist Richard Lewer examines his journey as a Pākehā learning about the Waikato Wars. As part of the process, Lewer develops an understanding of the history of the place he comes from and the context in which he sits in Waikato’s historical landscape. The artist describes the show as the most significant artwork series he will ever create.


O le Pepelo, le Gaoi, ma le Pala’ai | The Liar, the Thief and the Coward

When: 5 to 23 March
Where: Auckland Theatre Company, ASB Waterfront Theatre, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Web: atc.co.nz

A dark and comic exploration of the fa’a Sāmoa, where family, leadership and legacy collide. “You’re not going to live forever. If you cark it tomorrow, who’s going to lead?” Pili Sā Tauilevā is a proud ali’i (chief) in the village of Moa, devoted to the sacred fa’a Sāmoa tradition of service. But when he falls gravely ill, power and politics come into play, and he is revealed as a man out of step with modern times.


Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival

Photo: Jinki Cambronero.

When: 7 to 24 March
Where: Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Web: aklfest.co.nz

This year’s festival embraces a theme of resonance, with opening night featuring Choirs Aotearoa New Zealand. Other highlights of the 18-day programme include Hear Me Roar! featuring Betty-Anne Monga, Annie Crummer, Julia Deans and Boh Runga, drum and dance troupe Manifesto and South Korean choreographer and performer Eun-Me Ahn in Dragons.

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Still life…In the Old Genre

Jude Rae, SL439, 2020-2021.

When: 9 March to 9 June
Where: The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson
Web: thesuter.org.nz

Historical and contemporary treatments of still life are under the spotlight in a show featuring works by Philip Clairmont, Sylvia Sydell, David Woodings, Michael Shepherd, Liyen Chong, Jude Rae and Barry Cleavin. The genre of still life has traditionally featured domestic objects arranged in a composition. This exhibition shows how artists have found powerful ways to keep it alive.


CubaDupa Festival

Other Futures Big Band.

When: 23 to 24 March
Where: Cuba Street, Pōneke Wellington
Web: cubadupa.co.nz

Staged against the backdrop of Cuba Street, the legendary street festival includes mobile street theatre, pop-up performances, body painting, installations, rock, toi Māori, brass and Balkan beats. The international and local festival creative line-up includes Aotearoa musicians Shepherds Reign, Pollyhill x Samara Alofa, Other Futures Big Band and WHO SHOT SCOTT.


Mansfield Park

When: 17 to 21 April
Where: Pōneke Wellington and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Web: nzopera.com

Billed as a journey of manners, marriage and money, New Zealand Opera stages Jane Austen’s dance of love, ambition and societal expectations in two historic venues — the Public Trust Hall in Wellington and Settlers Country Manor in Auckland. The two locations reference the intimacy and ambience of the Regency drawing rooms where Mansfield Park’s characters play out their roles.


CSO Presents: Celebrating John Williams

When: 20 April
Where: Christchurch Town Hall
Web: cso.co.nz

With CSO chief conductor Benjamin Northey as conductor, host and guide, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra showcases a selection of legendary movie soundtracks by American composer John Williams. Featuring orchestral hits from iconic films including Jaws, Schindler’s List, Harry Potter, Superman, Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha and Star Wars.

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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