Pacific Underground gets a warm welcome

(From left) Hiliako Iaheto, Andrew Sione, Pos Mavaega and Rangitakau Tekii in New Caledonia....
(From left) Hiliako Iaheto, Andrew Sione, Pos Mavaega and Rangitakau Tekii in New Caledonia. Photo supplied.
Caselberg Trust artists in residence Pacific Underground mark 20 years of performance art with a show at the Fortune Theatre on Saturday.

The Pasifika performing arts group will perform Island Summer, a show of Pacific Island and original music by Pos Mavaega and Tanya Muagututi'a, the group's longest-serving remaining members.

''So far we've had such a warm welcome from the trust and community here. The peaceful vibe out here is so different compared to where I live,'' says Mr Mavaega, who moved from Christchurch to Auckland after the earthquakes.

Pacific Underground started out in Christchurch in 1993. One of its early works, Off The Boat, written by Simon Small and Oscar Kightley, premiered at the University Free Theatre that year. The cast included new actors Kightley and drama school graduate David Fane.

As well as writing and staging plays, Pacific Underground has performed countless music shows, recorded CDs, and produced its own Pacific Arts Festival in Christchurch for 10 years from 2001 to 2010. Other artists to have been helped on their way by Pacific Underground over the years include Scribe, Ladi 6, Parks, Mark Vanilau and Dallas Tamaira, of Fat Freddy's Drop.

''We weren't thinking of longevity back then, mainly that the work had to stand up,'' Ms Muagututi'a says.

Island Summer has toured as far afield as Palau, American Samoa and New Caledonia.

Part of Dunedin's Puaka Matariki Festival, Island Summer features Mavaega, Muagututi'a on vocals and guest Dunedin musicians Hiliako Iaheto and Rangitakau Tekii, of reggae band 'Koile.

• Island Summer, Fortune Theatre, Saturday, 7.30pm.

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