Vol - 19 | 8 December 2017




Kia ora and welcome to our December edition of the Arts Online newsletter. Great to have had you with us during 2017 as the facilitation team has brought you items of interest, news, events and teaching resources.
Our editorial feature in this edition is from our Dramanet facilitator, Ryan Benjamin. He shares a teaching experience in collaboration with the MASSIVE Company – a great example of working with industry to enhance learning experiences for students.
We wish you all a very happy Christmas and holiday break and look forward to welcoming you back in the new year.  Ngā mihi mahana,
Maria Lute
On behalf of the Arts Online team.

Editorial – Harnessing a model of established practice within a secondary drama programme – MASSIVE Company.

By Ryan Benjamin, McAuley High School, Otahuhu

As a dance and drama educator with responsibility for the planning and delivery of New Zealand Curriculum programmes in drama and dance at my school, I am always looking for practice models and for opportunities within the arts industry to capture my students’ interests and to inspire them from a real-world perspective.
MASSIVE Company’s keen connection with youth and making their style of theatre-making and performing so available to youth have made them an obvious choice, for me, in more recent years. Through their workshops for teachers and holiday workshops for students, we are able to gain a real insight to the way work is made in the MASSIVE style. We can then build these stimuli, processes and features into our own teaching and learning programmes.
Their repertoire of work and access to video material of work-in-progress, including real-time updates through social media platforms, means students can follow the progress of a live theatre work for study. They are able to watch rehearsals (a window into an aspect of theatre and production that audiences rarely get to be a part of) and, in turn, echo these stimuli, processes and performative features in the works they develop in class.
MASSIVE Company celebrated their 25th anniversary of making and commissioning professional theatre in NZ in 2016. I was extremely grateful to be offered their MASSIVE Making residency project in my school for that year. The project enabled the company to move into our studio at school for two full school days, working with our Year 12 and 13 drama class.

Our term-long focus revolved around memories - reflecting that we grow and move into different stages of life (looking back whilst moving forward)  - and our working unit and eventual performance title, “Memories Are Made of This” was the spring board idea for MASSIVE Company coming in to work with our students.

Provocation is an important step in the journey for each of MASSIVE’s works, just as it’s an important teaching tool. In this instance, students were invited to consider memories from the light-hearted - ‘my first ever friend’, ‘the toy I wanted/or cherished, ‘most embarrassing moment’, ‘my greatest childhood adventure’ through to more hard-hitting ‘my first encounter with loss’ or ‘my memory of my grandfather’ – all manner of memories, moments and stories from our students’ and their families’ oral histories were shared and given life in performance.
The term-long focus offered a multitude of possible assessment outcomes from the drama (and PAT) matrix, and the quality and commitment embodied by our students, who expressed how challenging they found it to sustain the energy required in tasks throughout each of the two whole-day workshops – were no different to those that would be required by any actor offered a contract with MASSIVE on a full-time project basis. 

These reflections from the students confirmed that the learning context had “ticked so many boxes” –  authenticity, real-world connections, project-based learning and high student-engagement, all the while affirming and utilising students’ prior knowledge and experiences to drive decisions -  was one of the many rewarding moments we’re so fortunate be able to experience as teachers within the Arts.
The clear connections for front and back-end exploration of the NZC, and the multiple approaches to explore challenging new learning material, lifted the students’ ‘game’ as a class in ways which have continued to show through, since, so in this regard, I am forever indebted to MASSIVE Company for affording us the opportunity. 
Oh yeah, and did I mention it was fun?!


From NZQA: “Please share with us your views on the 2017 external examinations. The feedback provided will benefit your students by helping NZQA make quality improvements for future assessments. Your feedback will be used directly by the examiners to review the examination and prepare for the subsequent year.”

The link to the survey for each level is included below. NZQA collect different teacher-voice responses for each level as the analysis and evaluation of the feedback goes to different panels for consideration. You could complete individual responses or, alternatively, submit a collective department response. The survey will close on 28 February, 2018.
Survey links:  View the 2018 NCEA examination timetable, here.
  • Exemplars for each grade boundary for the recent Level 3 Song-writing standard are now published.
  • NZQA have transferred responsibility for the Performing Arts Technology Unit Standards to Skills Active Aotearoa. From 1 Jan 2018, schools must liaise with Skills Active Aotearoa for all standard-setting, assessment and moderation. Schools currently offering US10197, 10353, 26686-26691, 27699-27704, 28002-28008 will be contacted in 2018 with a moderation plan. Contact Skills Active Aotearoa directly with any questions.
  • There has been a recent update and relaunch of a very useful resource New Wave Folkdancing.  Many of you will be familiar with the older resource. This resource has been a work in progress for many years for Rae Storey and has instructions, the music and video examples of dances from all around the world. Courtly dances were performed by the aristocracy.  Folk dance were performed by the people and hence their name.
  • Drama New Zealand’s national conference for 2018, He ngākau ngahau ~ A Joyful Heart, will take place in Auckland from 13-16 April. Calls for expressions of interest from presenters are now invited for workshops and papers around the theme of having fun in the drama classroom; playing, creativity, and engaging with joy in our hearts. Please email your ideas to 
Visual Arts


  • Music Podcast: Pete Rainey is an ex-music teacher who took over a small battle of the band competition 29 years ago. The SmokefreeRockquest and Pacifica Beats Competitions are now a national competition. Listen to Jesse Mulligan interview him on National Radio about music, boats and playing gypsy, jazz violin.
  • Music article: Jordan Rakei, NZ born, Australian-raised, London-based multi-instrumentalist is interviewed on the eve of the international release of his album Wallflower. “ here
  • Art History video documentary: The Medici, Savonarola and Renaissance Florence . Interesting documentary about the influence of Savonarola, the Medici and the artists that shaped Renaissance Florence and its power and politics within Italy.
  • Who determines what is considered Art?
  • Akram Khan’s Giselle is coming to New Zealand next year. Here is a short video of parts of the performance.  This video will give you a look behind the scenes.
  • Drama for Primary: this Pinterest page provides a wide-ranging collection of drama materials, ideas and resources for use in the classroom.
  • As many teachers think ahead to the contexts they will explore in 2018, these Chipotle ad campaigns provide a great platform for using environmental, animal welfare and other human-impact concerns as a focus in the drama classroom. Consider how a process drama might emerge from these clips or the ideas generated from them as a devising stimuli and get students talking about the issues that matter most to them.
  • Visual Arts: powerful  video - Irregulars (9mins approx) pairs a powerful narrative against a beautifully shot backdrop of a mannequin factory. A 2015 documentary that has won 19 awards at film festivals across the globe.

Arts events

  • New Zealand Festival 23 Feb-18 March 2018 in Wellington.
  • The Met Opera in HD shows Operas filmed at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. The next 12 months’ films are now listed here.It includes showings in regional centres through the Rialto network.
  • Contemporary Dance uNZipped will be held in Auckland in January for secondary dance teachers.  It is four days of workshops covering NCEA choreography and performance standards. Auckland and Wellington festival organisers have announced the dance performances that will be part of their festival programmes early next year.
  • Panpapanpalya is a joint congress of WDA (World Dance Alliance) and DACI (Dance and the Child International) to be held in Adelaide next year. Look at the website to see how you could be involved.
Art History: Galleries
  • Auckland City Art Gallery: Earthly Visions places Rita Angus and four of her most mystical Hawke’s Bay landscapes at the centre of an exhibition which registers the significance of her late radical realist style.
  • Wellington Adam Art Gallery: four stunning exhibitions by artists including Anna Sanderson, Gavin Hipkins and Philip Kelly.
  • Christchurch Gallery: Jacqueline Fahey: Say Something!  Exhibition by this quirky, modernist NZ painter, reknown for her domestic and feminist themes.
  • Dunedin gallery: Gordon Walters: New Vision. An exhibition by one of NZ’s most significant painters.

Exemplars for each grade boundary for the recent Level 3 Song-writing standard are now published.
Reviewed Resources on Arts Online Teacher Resource Exchange (TRE)

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