Nina Nawalowalo directing  Florian Teatiu (Tahiti)  with Sarah Knox (Footnote) in the development workshop for the Conch's new work 'Masi' 2010, photographer Philip Merry
Nina Nawalowalo directing Florian Teatiu (Tahiti) with Sarah Knox (Footnote) in the development workshop for the Conch's new work 'Masi' 2010, photographer Philip Merry

If you would like to join the Fono, please click here.

The theme for the Pacific Dance Fono 2010 is:

How can we take traditional Pacific dance forms and open up the poetry of their content in a theatrical setting?

This theme has been set by our very special guest speaker - Nina Nawalowalo and is based on her previous work with "Vula" (2002 - 2008) and her current work "Masi." Here, she explored ways of opening up traditional dance in a theatrical context and the magic of illusion to tell a story.

Tom McCrory, Nina's artistic partner in "The Conch" wrote the following taken from questions put to Nina at the Sydney Biennale 2006 ...of Vula...

"It revealed to me that these Pacific Island women, while living in the now were the embodiment of thousands of years of Pacific culture in the now. Not only was this present beauty revealed, but also they became mythic, archetypical in their proportions. This information welled up from inside them and became the very personal yet very symbolic imagery of the piece.”

Read about Nina below...

Nina Nawalowalo biography: 

Nina Nawalowalo started her career as a sports woman representing Wellington and New Zealand in Basketball. Training at Wellington Teachers College stimulated a passion for theatre. After qualifying as a teacher she went on to teach in Porirua and work in theatre and education with mentors Robert and Jane Bennet and ‘Mime International’ touring with the company throughout New Zealand, the Pacific and to Moscow and Poland. From here she travelled to London to Study Mime with Desmond Jones, Phillipe Gaulier, Pierre Byland and mask with Antonio Fava - Italy

For six years she performed and taught all over the world with Richard MacDougall, world champion close up Magician. Together they created new works  from a unique blend of Magic, Mask and Clown collaborating with many greats including Pierre Byland and members of Theatre de Complicite.

In 1994 she was awarded the prestigious comedy award from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Her work has been selected for and performed at many international festivals including: London International Mime Festival,

British Festival of Visual Theatre, Ulster Comedy Festival, Moscow  Arts  Festival USSR,  The Magic Castle Los Angeles ,London International Workshop Festival.

On returning to NZ directing work followed with a string of critically acclaimed shows in the Wellington theatre scene including:

NZ International  Festival -Readers and Writers- Rehearsed Reading of Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka's new work "King Baabu"

The Wholly Grain -  Bats Theatre,

Spinning Mountain – Captial E National Theatre For Children

The Prophet  -by Hone Kouka, Downstage Theatre NZ International Arts Festival 2004 North Island Tour- Taki Rua Productions

Vula - ‘Dance Your Sox Off Festival’ - Bats Theatre 2002,

Te Whaea Theatre Wellington, Taupo Arts Festival 2004

South Pacific Arts Festival , Palau, Auckland Festival 2005, Guam Tour 2005, Christchurch Arts Festival. Sydney Opera House 2006, Vaka Vuku Festival Fiji

The Bite Festival – The Barbican Centre London 2008, Six city tour of Holland

Brisbane Powerhaus 2008, Adelaide 2008,

In 2007 Nina was awarded The Pacific Innovation and Excellence Award recognising her contribution as a Pacific artist to the performing arts in New Zealand. She is with Tom McCrory the Co-founder of ‘The Conch’ whose the award winning production ‘Vula ‘ toured nationally and internationally.

Her current theatre work in development  is Masi (Fijian for Tapa )

She has just returned from researching and auditioning in Fiji where she has been collabarating with world renowned magic illusionist Paul Kieve (Harry Potter magic consultant) and top Fijian male meke dancers. This development phase has been generously backed by Creative NZ and the British Council.

Nina is a regular tutor at  Toi Whakaari, The New Zealand Drama School.