Nina Nawalowalo

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Nina Nawalowalo

Nawalowalo in 2018
Nawalowalo in 2018
OccupationTheatre director
NationalityNew Zealander
Notable awardsSenior Pacific Artist Award (2017)
Contemporary Pacific Art Award (2007)

Nina Nawalowalo ONZM is a New Zealand theatre director and co-founder of the contemporary Pacific theatre company The Conch.

Biography and Education[edit]

Nina Catharine Nawalowalo was born in Paremata, Wellington, New Zealand in 1963. Her mother was British and her father was Fijian,[1] from the village of Tavuki, Kadavu, and Nawalowalo spent two and a half years living in Fiji before returning to Wellington. She attended Wellington Teachers' College, and was the captain of the New Zealand under-20 basketball team.[2]

Nawalowalo was teaching primary school upon graduating teachers' college but left to join Robert Bennett's company Mime International and toured including to Moscow and Poland. This was the beginning of an education in performing arts. Notable teachers Nina studied under are: Antonia Fava, Philippe Gaulier and Pierre Byland.[1]


Nawalowalo has worked as a theatre director since the 1980s. Creative partnerships were formed while she was living in London with magician Richard McDougall and illusion designer and magic consultant Paul Kieve.[2] She has presented at over forty international festivals, including the London International Mime Festival, British Festival of Visual Theatre, and the Moscow Arts Festival.[3]

In 2002 Nawalowalo co-founded the theatre company The Conch with Tom McCrory. Their productions focus on Pacific stories. The company is based in Wellington and had toured across New Zealand and internationally.[4][3] In 2013 the pair established the Solomon Islands National Women's Theatre Company Stages of Change with a focus on addressing violence against women and girls.[5] Nawalowalo's company provides and promotes access to the arts for Pacifika young people[6] through Conchus Youth.[7]


Awards and honours[edit]

Nawalowalo received the Contemporary Pacific Art Award in 2007 and the Senior Pacific Artist Award in 2017 at the Arts Pasifika Awards.[9]

In the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to theatre and Pacific culture.[10]


  1. ^ a b Playmarket 40 : 40 years of playwriting in New Zealand. Atkinson, Laurie,, O'Donnell, David. [Wellington] New Zealand. 2013. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-908607-45-7. OCLC 864712401.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f Warrington, Lisa; O'Donnell, David (2017). Floating Islanders : Pasifika theatre in Aotearoa. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press. pp. 148, 150. ISBN 978-1-988531-07-6. OCLC 994638351.
  3. ^ a b c d "Arts Pasifika Awards Celebrate Excellence & Innovation". Scoop. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "About Us". The Conch. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  5. ^ Pacific, Dateline (14 March 2014). "Solomons Women's theatre company draws international attention". Radio NZ. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  6. ^ Macandrew, Ruby (26 October 2017). "Wellington theatre director Nina Nawalowalo scoops top prize at Arts Pasifika Awards". Stuff. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Conchus Youth". The Conch. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Fono 2010". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Arts Pasifika Awards". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2018". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.

External links[edit]