IMAGE CREDITS: Rebecca Thomas 


This project brought together for the first time two major Vogue Houses based in Auckland Aotearoa. The House of C O V E N and performers and artist from the FAFSWAG arts collective. In it’s third year, The Pacific Dance Festival offered programming space for BIONICA to premier and for it’s creator, emerging dance choreographer Jacob Tamata, to experience some professional development in the way of staging his first major choreographed dance work.


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This project stitched together a number of performative motifs that include the interviewing of contemporary Vogue performance and Pacific dance, as well as the fine arts practice of  ‘activation’ (the activating of the ‘va’ through performance and ritual) and lastly the subversion of the ritual practice that surround trans-ness and the othering of Pacific brown bodies. Some of this work was explored in the preview / open rehearsal hosted by COVEN artist at the Auckland Art Gallery.

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IMAGE CREDITS: Pacific Dance Festival 

BIONICA used a number of forms that include, live interactive music performance, vogue battle aesthetics, and tightly choreographed set pieces that ultimately presented a narrative look at a utopian space for future queer indigenous identities to live and flourish. This world, was extremely vivid and visceral and brought digital backdrops into a physical dimension through movement and sound.


Having worked producing this show from inception to the final stage production, the vision of director Jacob Tamata took shape through many of the collaborative contributions of both her her performers from COVEN & FAFSWAG but also the technical skill of the artist involved in the large scale AV  design, Sound design and Lighting and Stage design. Including AV design by Tanu Gago, Sound design by Jermaine Dean and Wardrobe and styling by Logan Collis.


Thanks to artist and COVEN mentor Ralph Brown who was able to take the two dimensional aesthetics of the AV and bring them to life in a 3 dimensional space occupied by the performers, Jacob Tamata, Akashi Fisi’inaua, Moe Laga, Cypris Afakasi, Gabriel Halatoa and Falencie Filipo.


Thank you to artist Jermaine Dean from the sound collective Fanauspa who’s haunting and nuance sound bed created the cradle for the performance to thrust and spin and undulate from.  We were able to embed QR codes in the AV that shared their music production as the producer known as Thirsteen. Check out their Fanauspa colabs here on soundcloud.  GLITCH Featuring Queen Kapussi, Hamishi, Brown Boy Magik, and produced by Yumgod.


In addition to performing on stage, for the past 2 months the TV3 production BOTH WORLDS has been following the Jacob and so we’re looking forward to seeing this archive of his personal journey shared for audiences around the country to experience. Realising that this work has the potential to reach young people in their living roos and speak to their own personal journey is a comforting  outcome of all this work especially as the show itself was one night only.

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Special thanks and acknowledgements to Pacific Dance Festival and the team at Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku the Boosted NZ whanau and all the organisations that offered us support with space and resources. Te Tuhi Basement Theatre Basement Theatre Silo Theatre Auckland Art Gallery.




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Youthful escapism, BIONICA investigates a celestial plane, a third eye perspective and a nether realm where voices are invoked and inspiration is abundant. Beyond our bodies and societies expectations, BIONICA; a utopia, challenges traditions and the masculine overtures of our fathers generation. Our minds are always awake.

BIONICA is series of activations reshaping audience through the experiences of young, queer, indigenous artist. Told through the bodies of a new generation of movers and shakers, combining soundscape and motion. Created for the stage by artist and choreographer Jacob Tamata (The Dutchess of the House of COVEN)

Featuring: Cypris Afakasi, Falencie Filipo, Akashi Fisi’inaua, Gabriel Halatoa, Moe Laga. With lighting and stage design by Ralph Brown, Sound design by Jermaine Dean, Wardrobe design by Molana Sutton and Logan Collis.

This project is brought to you with support by Pacific Dance New Zealand.

BIONICA will premier at the 2018 Pacific Dance Festival at Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku. This one night season will sell out fast so be sure to secure your tickets at For media enquiries contact Tanu Gago at

Presented by COVEN
Directed by Jacob Tamata

7:00PM – 8:00PM | Thursday 21 June 2018
Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku
Corner Bader Drive and Orly Avenue,
Mangere, Auckland 2022




Coven is a spatial-activation performance art group hailing from the rich, dark caves of feminine wisdom. Through celebratory party rituals and the sweat of their dancing chocolate bodies, Coven destroys the stiff colonial tones that persist on being present in all majoritarian spaces.