Puāwai is a festival that was created in response to an initial conversation had in 2014. Body Positive Inc wanted to explore the possibility of marking World AIDS Day in New Zealand differently to previous years. Collaboration with Positive Women and the New Zealand AIDS Foundation quickly followed and the framework for our first mini festival was created in 2015. The aim was to create an open safe space to reduce stigma, to allow honest and authentic representation, and to raise awareness through performance and education. On top of that, one of the major aims was to normalise conversations that would allow members living with HIV to feel comfortable being visible and just enjoy being human! The kaupapa of the festival is to support all of these aims by raising awareness through education and performance.
We’ve had an amazing journey over the past three festivals creating and spreading the word! This year we celebrate our fourth festival and we’re now at a place where we have annual events alongside new engagements each year! Our annual programme includes:
Each year we invite a panel of experts. They come loaded with knowledge and incredible stories, whether they have lived experience or are experts in the field. MC’d in the past by Steven Oats and previous panellists have included Judith Ackroyd, Michael Parmenter, Kate Leslie and Charlie Tredway
To help empower the female voice and HIV related conversations, we have engaged with Garnet Station and have created events to encourage women from all walks of life to engage with HIV education and the arts! This is the only umbrella event that runs over a few days. Previous years we have run voice, poetry and sex ed workshops and we have been gifted some incredible stories from women and have created theatre pieces to help get everyone’s imagination to meet the reality of actual life experiences.
In its fourth year our Gala has been the highlight of each festival. We invite our talented friends to come together, support and celebrate life with the power of performance and song! Previously we have paid homage to the Broadway backwards ideals, performing songs from our favourite musicals but each year we tweak and play and this year we are looking at a new format to wow everyone! We have been lucky in the past to be supported by incredible artists including Neil Thoirnnton, Brady Peeti, Bryony Skillington, Jay Chasland, the amazing Jennifer Ward- Lealand and the incomparable Jackie Clarke.
Every year we include different elements including spoken word, Comedy, Sex Talks, Dance Parties and workshops! This year we will be lifting the roof again so keep an eye out and we will have our exciting 2018 finalised programme ready very soon!!!
BRING IT 2018!!