Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School

New Zealand’s Drama School Toi Whakaari has put out the welcome mat to Australian students to apply for future intakes.

Australian citizens are classed as domestic students in New Zealand and pay the same (relatively modest) fees as New Zealand citizens.

Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School has been at the forefront of performing arts education in New Zealand for over forty years, creating flexible, independent and innovative performing arts professionals.

As well as core craft skills, a key part of the training at Toi Whakaari adopts processes and structures from Māori culture. Although unique to Aotearoa New Zealand, it offers key skills and practices that are relevant in any context worldwide.

 It’s called kōiwitanga. Distinctness, difference, meaning and relationship lie at the heart of kōiwitanga. This process allows the school to grow and make overt the skills and potential of students through engaging with difference. The complexity of human relationships is at the heart of the performing arts. Kōiwitanga helps students to develop the skills to read and engage with what exists between us in the live moment.

No matter which area of study students are involved in at Toi Whakaari; acting, arts management, directing, design, technology or costume, the skills developed through kōiwitanga help to create students who are self-aware, self-reliant, independent and flexible.

They are able to identify their own strengths, and weaknesses. They can see where their skills and knowledge will fit in any given work environment. Their understanding of their own tendencies, habits and difference allows them to read the same in others and assess who is the best person for a particular job, in a particular situation. This dynamic ability to assess, analyse and then act, developed through kōiwitanga, is key to graduates’ success.

*Fees currently around NZ$6000 per annum.

Image: Jonathon Power and Ria Simmons in Our Country's Good 2012 graduation production