Tauranga‘s “little festival of big ideas”

Supplied photos.

Ockham New Zealand Book Award winners and nominees, literature magnates, thought-provoking journalists, and delightful performances are on their way to Tauranga Moana for the 2022 Escape Festival.

The city’s beloved, biennial little festival of big ideas gets underway on October 12 to October 16 at multiple central city venues, including Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, Books A Plenty, Trinity Wharf Tauranga and the Tauranga Art Gallery.

Dr Hinemoa Elder, Charlotte Grimshaw, Rebecca K Reilly, Max Rashbrooke, Nici Wickes, Elisabeth Easther, Abbas Nazari, Mohamed Hassan, The Spinoff’s Gone by Lunchtime team, and Tauranga’s own gang-man Jared Savage, are among the 20+ writers, thinkers and commentators in the 2022 Escape line-up.

Alongside the writers programme, bringing delightful live performance through storytelling of another kind, are three special events for audiences of all ages.

Of the 2022 programme, artistic director Gabrielle Vincent says book lovers already know the joy of escaping through other people’s magical words and tales, but sometimes these stories – especially through the interesting times in which we live right now – are most powerful when discussed by the author or creator in real life.

"That is the true magic of a writers festival and it is an absolute privilege to have these remarkable writers, speakers and artists share their stories and kōrero with us in Tauranga Moana."

Tauranga Arts Festival Trust Chair Kathryn Lellman says connection is a key aim for the event.

"Our programme will connect audiences with local and global conversations through literature, theatre, and storytelling.

"That connection will also bring our community together through shared artistic experiences. Our storytellers will inspire, challenge and excite everyone with their work - all without having to leave our vibrant little city."

Rebecca K Reilly (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Wai), whose debut novel Greta & Valdin won Best First Book and was nominated for the prestigious Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction in the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, will kōrero with former Tauranga local and Director of Verb Wellington, Claire Mabey.

Charlotte Grimshaw, in conversation with Michelle Langstone about her explosive and thought-provoking memoir The Mirror Book, will give a vivid account of growing up in one of New Zealand’s most well-known literary families.

Chef, author, food stylist and broadcaster Nici Wickes will kōrero with Sandra Simpson for the ever-popular Escape Morning Tea event as she reflects on her life in food, over a delicious morning tea catered by Trinity Wharf Tauranga.

A one-off, public reading of a play in development by actor, journalist and broadcaster Elisabeth Easther, A Rare Bird, will bring to life the writings of ornithologist Perrine Moncrieff - an extraordinary woman who played a quietly vital role in conserving the flora and fauna of Aotearoa.

Max Rashbrooke (Too Much Money), chief philanthropic officer at the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i and the last chair of Auckland District Health Board Pat Snedden, will discuss how wealth inequality is changing New Zealand.

Dr Hinemoa Elder (Ngāti Kuri, Te Aupōuri, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) will kōrero about her new book Wawata - Moon Dreaming, and how to reclaim intimacy with others, ourselves and our planet using the energies of Hina, the Māori moon.

Qiane Matata-Sipu (Te Waiohua, Waikato, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pikiao and Cook Islands), Pāpāmoa-based marine ecologist Professor Kura Paul-Burke (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Whakahemo), filmmaker and producer Chelsea Winstanley (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi te Rangi), and racial equity educator, Kat Poi (Tainui, Te Arawa, Tonga) will kōrero about story sovereignty and one of the most celebrated books of 2021, NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigeous Women.

In Gangland, Tauranga’s own award-winning investigative reporter Jared Savage shines a light into New Zealand's rising underworld of organised crime, in conversation with The Spinoff’s Editor-at-Large, Toby Manhire.

Bestselling author, speaker and Fulbright Scholar, Abbas Nazari will recount his extraordinary story of life - from living under the Taliban’s brutal rule, to spending a terrifying month at sea on refugee boat, The Tampa, his family’s desperate search for safety, and building a new life at the bottom of the world.

How to be a Bad Muslim is the elegant, debut non-fiction offering from award-winning New Zealand writer, poet and journalist Mohamed Hassan. It maps the personal and public experience of being Muslim through a lens of identity, Islamophobia, surveillance, migration and language.

In this special conversation with Rosabel Tan, Mohamed speaks about this illuminating and powerful collection of essays.

In an Escape first, The Spinoff’s popular political podcast, Gone By Lunchtime, will record an episode live in Tauranga Moana.

Producer and presenter Annabelle Lee Mather, media commentator and PR consultant Ben Thomas, and The Spinoff’s Editor-at-Large Toby Manhire spend their days closely studying the ins, outs, ups and downs of NZ’s political, cultural and media landscapes, and the parties and people who inhabit them.

In this delightfully acerbic session, the jocular triumvirate will peer into the turbulent times of the Tauranga City Council and discuss the current and future political landscape of our city with two special guests.

In a panel discussion, recently retired fertility counselor Sue Saunders, actor and author Michelle Langstone, and Elisabeth Easther will explore the multitude of ways one can conceive a baby in the 21st century, new models of family-making, and the taboos around IVF, surrogacy and other assisted fertility options.

In the performance space, comedy and circus sensation Thom Monckton will astound audiences in The Artist: an incredible feat of physical strength, skilled theatrics, and comedic storytelling.

To be in the audience of a Thom Monckton performance is spellbinding, as he makes a spectacular experience out of the ordinary.

News News News is a television news show made by children for adults, recorded in front of a studio audience and broadcast live on the internet.

Working with UK artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington, New Zealand’s Rosabel Tan, and children from Mount Maunganui Primary School will present a distinctive look at what’s going on right here and right now.

Pīpī Paopao by Rutene Spooner, presented in association with Baycourt Community and Arts Centre and PANNZ, Pīpī Paopao is a performance for tamariki aged 3-5year olds - and their adults - which adopts the unique characteristics of our Manu Rangatira (noble birdlife) through waiata and play.

It continues the Māori tradition of using proverbs and metaphors of the natural world to teach and prepare our own little hatchlings; so they too may flourish and fly into a world of their own.

Tania Roxborogh (Ngāti Porou) is an award-winning author of more than thirty published works. She will host a workshop for rangatahi aged 11 to 14 which will take young writers through the dos and don'ts of storytelling and why it is so important to get it right.

Tauranga Zinefest is back - the free, highly visual community event, dedicated to promoting and exploring this unique subculture.

Motif Poetry is proud to present the second annual Wham Bam Tauranga Poetry Slam.

In three rounds of audience-judged, original work from established and emerging local performers, young poets battle it out and, by the end of the night, a new Tauranga Slam Champ will be crowned who will go on to represent Tauranga at the national NZ Poetry Slam.

Escape to experience the Chaos installation of vibrant flags by award-winning printmaker and multimedia artist Nicol Sanders-O’Shea at Baycourt Community and Arts Centre. Suspended from the ceiling, colour, patterns and images collide in this stunning display, connecting storytelling from the past to the present.

The viewer becomes the narrator in this optical delight.

"None of this would happen without the ongoing generous support of our funders, sponsors and patrons. We don’t take that support for granted and want to acknowledge that they allow us to bring the stories to Tauranga Moana and to keep the cost affordable," says Tauranga Arts Festival Trust Chair Kathryn Lellman.




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