Ko te reo Māori, kia mau is a call to hold fast. Kia Mau is about us all. Here. Now.

Kia Mau Festival is a contemporary, Māori and Pasifika led, live and digital performance experience held biennially in Te Ūpoko o Te Ika a Maui.

The inaugural Kia Mau Festival was held in 2015 and was presented annually until 2019. Due to the rapid growth and expansion, Kia Mau was moved to be presented every two years, with the festival returning to the Wellington region in June 2023.

Founded by multi-awarded winning senior artist, 2022 Te Tumu Toi Arts Laureate, Hone Kouka MNZM, and with very few Māori, Pasifika theatre and dance companies and their work being presented on mainstages and in festivals throughout Wellington; Hone worked directly to address this vast gap in the arts landscape.

In 2015, utilising his relationships with Wellington based venues and companies, Hone created the very first incarnation of Kia Mau Festival (originally called Ahi Kaa Festival). Over three weeks, Ahi Kaa Festival featured six productions presented by six Māori companies including White Face Crew, Tawata Productions, Hāpai Productions, Modern Māori Quartet, Taki Rua Productions and Tikapa Productions.

Kia Mau is helmed by Hone, celebrated senior arts leader Dolina Wehipeihana and theatre and filmmaker Mīria George.

Originally presented only in Wellington City, Kia Mau Festival grew throughout the wider Wellington region. Kia Mau features artists from throughout Te Ūpoko o te Ika a Maui around Aotearoa and the Indigenous world, presenting creative work in Ōtaki, Paekākāriki, Porirua, Stokes Valley, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wellington City.

Nau mai, tūtaki mai ki te whānau o Kia Mau!