"Ko te wahine te kaitaki o te where tangata - Women are the guardians of the house of humanity."

The central role of women in many Oceanic Indigenous cultures rests on their connection to the Mother Earth. The element from which all life emerges and is nourished. 

Photo: Yiani Andrikadis


We awaken the story of Mount Tarawera, which erupted and destroyed one of New Zealand's most visited tourist destinations, the Pink & White terraces and buried 150 people, mostly Maori, yet continues to be a popular tourist destination to date. ORA/MATE (literally translating to First/Last or Life/Death in Te Reo Maori) unravels what happens is the face of countless stories across the world, when Indigenous people disconnect from Mother Earth choosing to believe the Western romanticism of anthropocentricism is the key to survival rather than the ecocentrism of their own centuries old knowledge systems. It's first development led by Ayeesha Ash & Emele Ugavule in collaboration with Sereima Adimate & Sarah Vai took place in 2017 with the support of The Joan, PYT | Fairfield & PACT through the HIG/WAY 234 program. ORA/MATE is a meeting place of multiple stories & performance practices using inter-cultural & syncretic practices through the bodies and songs of trans-indigenous performers from across the Pacific. 



Co-Director  Emele Ugavule

Photo: Yiani Andrikidis

Co Director  Ayeesha Ash

Co-Creators  Sela Vai, Sereima Adimate & Vanessa Marian



ORA/MATE has been supported through the HIGH/WAY Artist 234 Residency with The Joan, PYT | Fairfield & PACT.