In 2020, Breaking Ground returns to Te Whanganui-a-tara for the 11th season of new writing crafted by Māori & Pasifika writers of drama. 

Breaking Ground is a festival of ideas and of new writing for theatre & radio. Calling together Māori & Pasifika playwrights, Breaking Ground reimagines storytelling for the stage and radio.

This year, our festival hosts writers from Te Whanganui-a-tara and Tāmaki Makaurau including Tanya Muagututi’a, Neenah Dekkers-Reihana, Hone Kouka and Teherenui Koteka. Breaking Ground also includes the return of writers’ collective Maranga Mai, who will complete a new radio series developed throughout Covid-19 Lockdown and completed this month. Wellington-based Maranga Mai includes Tina McNicholas, Sandra Tisam, Natalia Fareti, Sherilee Kahui, Teherenui Koteka, Te Aorewa Rolleston and Stevie Greeks.

The festival is presented by Tawata Productions and helmed by writer, director and producer Mīria GeorgeBreaking Ground celebrates the powerful role of writers for the stage within any healthy creative industry.

Breaking Ground is presented in partnership with Creative New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

In 2020, Breaking Ground celebrates 11 years of new writing and new plays crafted by playwrights of Māori, Pasifika and Indigenous heritage. Our festival was born from Native Earth Performing Arts’ development platform Weesageechak Begins To Dance Festival, which Tawata co-directors Mīria George and Hone Kouka were invited to attend in 2009 & 2010. In 2010, Breaking Ground was presented for the first time in Te Whanganui-a-tara, at Circa Theatre, through a partnership between Mīria, Hone and playwrights Branwen Millar and Simon Vincent.

Breaking Ground is responsive and creates focus on the development of Māori + Pasifika playwrights, as well as introducing global Indigenous playwrights to Wellington and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The whakapapa of our festival includes playwrights including Riwia Brown, Mitch Tawhi Thomas, Hone Kouka, Yvette Nolan (Turtle Island, Canada), Tammy Haili’ōpua Baker, Kiki Rivera, Nancy Brunning, Victor Rodger, Jamie McCaskill, Maraea Rakuraku, Maia Diamond, Aroha White and Hinekaa Mako. 

Design by The Raro Dog. All images by Julie Zhu.