Atamira dance company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Atamira Dance Company is a creator and presenter of Maori contemporary dance theatre of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Atamira means platform for the dead.

The Company was created in 2000 by Jack Gray with core members Dolina Wehipeihana, Louise Poitiki Bryant and Justine Hohaia.. The company is based in Corban Estate Arts Centre in Waitakere City, New Zealand. [1]

The company takes their personal stories and that of their whakapapa to relate to Aotearoa’s history and touch on significant contemporary issues. Atamira typically means stage however a more in depth meaning to the word relates to the process of caring for those who have died.[2]


In 2000 the company was founded as a response to the community need for a platform for Maori urban identity. They create works that aim to reach out to the audiences, and reflect the aspirations of many Maori people and their Mana Whenua (maori rights). All dancers and choreographers involved with the company have links to New Zealand iwi.

2007 Atamira formed the Atamira Dance Collective Charitable Trust to promote Maori contemporary dance.

2010 Moss Patterson took over the company as Artistic Director. Jack Gray still continues to dance and choreograph for the company.

2014 They are currently creating the fifth series of ‘Hou’ (meaning new).


The Company was created in 2000 by Jack Gray with core members Dolina Wehipeihana, Louise Poitiki Bryant and Justine Hohaia. The four met during 1999 while Gray and Wehipeihana were studying contemporary dance at UNITEC, subsequently becoming acquainted with Hohaia and Bryant at a tertiary dance festival. At that point Bryant was studying Maori Studies at University of Otago and Hohaia at Wellington’s New Zealand School Of Dance. Upon meeting Gray, Wehipeihana and Hohaia, Bryant saw their love of dance and decided it was time for her to follow her passion too, and gave up her studies to transfer to the dance programme at UNITEC.

Artistic Director[edit]

Moss Patterson Ngati Tuwharetoa CE / Artistic Director/Choreographer

Moss began his performance career as a musician composing and performing in Dunedin, NZ. This led him to study acting at The New Zealand College of Performing Arts and then on to study dance and choreography at UNITEC School of Performing and Screen Arts in Auckland.

Moss has danced and choreographed for Atamira Dance Company, Black Grace Dance Company, Footnote Dance Company and Touch Compass. He is often compared to the Limbs dancer Alfred Williams when he dances. He took over as Artistic Director for Atamira in January 2010 from former artistic director and founder Jack Gray.

He has choreographed Te Paki, Haka, Te Whenua, Whakairo and Moko for Atamira Dance Company. In 2007, Moss was awarded Best Choreography by TEMPO Dance Festival and Best New Choreographer in the NZ Listener for Whakairo.

Moss was recognized for his major role as associate choreographer for the Rugby World Cup 2011 Opening Ceremony and Sacre The Auckland Dance Project with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2012, Moss made Poutama with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and Moko with Atamira. During 2014 he has made Te Manu Ahi (The Firebird) with Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra to premiere on 22 October 2014.

Moss has been the co-recipient of the CNZ Tup Lang Dance scholarship with Atamira Dance Company and the Te Whakahaungia choreographic award by Toi Maori Aotearoa. He is a regular speaker at local and national events and is a passionate advocate for Maori culture and Maori contemporary dance in New Zealand. [3]


Whakairo (2007) [4] Ngai Tahu 32 (2008) [5] Taonga: Dust, Water, Wind (2009) [6] Whetu (2010) [7] Hou (2010) [8] Te Urewera (2011) [9] Te Houhi: The People and the Land are One (2011) [10] Kaha: Short Works 2012 [11] Tohu (2012) [12]


The Company’s core funders are Creative NZ, ASB Community Trust, Te Waka Toi, Toi Maori Aotearoa Atamira Dance Collective Charitable Trust was formed in July 2007 to foster and promote Maori Contemporary Dance. [13]


  1. ^ @URL. "ATAMIRA Maori Contemporary Dance Company -". Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  2. ^ DANZ article on Atamira Archived 27 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ @URL. "ATAMIRA Maori Contemporary Dance Company - The People". Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-31. 
  4. ^ [Metro NZ Issue 315 page 140]
  5. ^ [Te Karaka Makairi 2008 issue 39 pages 42,43,44]
  6. ^ [The Listener March 2009 pages 40&41]
  7. ^ [Waikato Times page 2]
  8. ^ [The New Zealand Herald 6/03/2010]
  9. ^ [The New Zealand Herald 19/02/2011]
  10. ^ [The New Zealand Herald 23/09/2011]
  11. ^ [The New Zealand Herald 25/06/2012]
  12. ^ [The New Zealand Herald 17/11/2012]
  13. ^ Danz Article on Atamira Archived 27 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine.