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Pasifika Music Celebration 'Mana Moana' Is Coming to Auckland for One Night Only

Prepare yourself for a heartwarming musical experience from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa and Signature Choir.
By Emma Clark-Dow
September 12, 2023
By Emma Clark-Dow
September 12, 2023

The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Te Tira Pūoro o Aotearoa and Signature Choir are coming together for Mana Moana, a larger-than-life celebration of Pasifika music and stories. After Mana Moana sold out its 2022 performance in Wellington, 78 NZSO musicians and 80 Signature Choir members are bringing the epic night of music to Auckland's Spark Area on Friday, November 24.

Mana Moana's title was born from the two words that are commonly used across Pasifika languages, including te reo Māori. In general, mana means power or sacred, while moana means water. The phrase Mana Moana is used to symbolise bringing the Pacific nations together, as connected through the water and the sacred space that surrounds them.

The group of musicians and choral singers will be performing songs from all over the Pacific Islands, from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. The audience can expect both traditional and modern sounds from the Pacific Islands' rich history, right up to present day.

Conducted by NZSO's Brent Stewart and curated by music director Helen Tupai, Mana Moana's 70-strong orchestra provides the perfect backing for the Pasifika choir, marking one of the first times that a group of choral singers has performed a show with solely Pasifika music.

"Mana Moana reimagines Pasifika music by fusing the power of choral harmony with a lush and grand orchestra, making it a truly magical experience," said Tupai.

"Partnering with a world-class orchestra to sing songs that are prominent and significant to our Pasifika communities provides a huge sense of pride, so much so that it's hard to not get emotional when performing."

Throughout the event, the talented musicians and singers will be performing a collection of songs chosen by Wellington's Pasifika communities, as picked for their importance to Pacific Islands and the stories they represent. The score features songs like 'Faliu le la', which paints a picture of Samoa's incredible environment, and 'Siueli o e pasifiki', a song depicting the deep love Queen Sālote Tupou III had for her country of Tonga.

Mana Moana will be presented at Auckland's Spark Arena on Friday, November 24, with tickets available from 12pm on Thursday, September 14.

Published on September 12, 2023 by Emma Clark-Dow
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