Toi Whakaari

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Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School is New Zealand's National Drama School. It is located in Wellington, New Zealand [1] Toi Whakaari offers training in Acting, Directing, Costume Construction, Entertainment Technology, Performing Arts Management and Design for Stage & Screen.

The School offers the following Tertiary qualifications:

  • Master of Theatre Arts in Directing
  • Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting)
  • Bachelor of Performing Arts (Management)
  • Bachelor of Design (Stage & Screen)
  • Diploma in Costume Construction (for Theatre, Film and Allied Industries)
  • Diploma in Entertainment Technology
  • Advanced Diploma in Entertainment Technology

Toi Whakaari caters to around 150 students annually, who study for up to three years each.

On average, 200 acting students audition for the school each year from around the country. Of these, 48 are invited for a recall audition and further questioning before the panel selects the 22 first year entrants.

The School puts on up to twenty live shows a year performed, crewed, designed and directed by students.

Toi Whakaari is the sister school of the New Zealand School of Dance.


Te Kura Toi Whakaari O Aotearoa: NZ Drama School is the official name of the school. The title in Maori (an official language of New Zealand) translates to a place of learning (Te Kura) Performing Arts (Toi Whakaari) in (O) New Zealand (Aotearoa) This titled was 'gifted' to the School in 1988 by Te Puni Kokiri (Ministry for Māori Development) in recognition of the School's bicultural work.


Toi Whakaari was established in 1970 by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. In 2005, its first year students were the subjects of a reality TV show, Tough Act. 2010 saw Toi Whakaari celebrate its 40th Anniversary. This also coincided with a book launch of the School's turbulent 40 year history-The book titled, Transitions, was written by Bill Guest, former Head of the Entertainment Technology Program & Associate Director. Annie Ruth, Director of the school for the past 15 years (And one of the first Acting Graduates of the School) will be vacating the position in May 2011. The newly announced Director of the School, Christian Penny (Now former HOD of Directing and Associated Director) will take on the Position of Director in May 2011.

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Coordinates: 41°15′43″S 174°41′31″E / 41.26181°S 174.69189°E / -41.26181; 174.69189