Director's Message

Christchurch has always been a place of extraordinary creativity. Artists from Ōtautahi and Te Waipounamu have not only carved out a distinct local culture by breaking boundaries and testing new ideas, they have also played a huge role in forging our distinct national culture. There is something about this place that inspires a searching spirit – the need to create, explore and to be challenged.

As we imagine a new city, our aim is for this Festival to reflect and nurture this brave and exciting spirit. We have curated a special selection of events and experiences to explore a sense of time and place and reveal the connections between land and people. It is exciting to shine a light on the depth and diversity of the work here, and to call home those who are creating innovative, award-winning work nationally and internationally.

We want for manaakitanga to be a core value for the Festival’s new direction and we’re excited by new collaborations with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu, including a special opening pōwhiri, a winter market in the Town Hall and the opening of the city’s new, unique hāngī site in The Commons, beside the Town Hall.

Our artists and special guests all recognise the unique opportunity we have as a city to strike out in bold and adventurous new directions. Our focus is to create a Festival that celebrates Ōtautahi as a place of hope, inspiration and change. As we gather around the fire to share laughter, tales and kai, we hope you’ll feel inspired about this place and enjoy exploring this year’s carnival of delights and adventures. This is a city of new beginnings.

Dr George Parker
Artistic Director