Massey creatives get hands-on experience with the return of CubaDupa


Live music at CubaDupa. Photo: Oliver Crawford Photography

Students from across Massey University’s Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts are busy putting their creative minds together to help Wellington’s Cuba Street Precinct come alive for the annual CubaDupa Festival.

The festival is returning from 27 to 28 March 2021 with its most ambitious programme ever offering over 19 hours of curated entertainment across 46 stages and creative zones, delivering 500+ performances and 20 parades with over 1750 artists from all over Aotearoa.

As New Zealand’s most diverse and creative street festival, Massey is proud to be a Foundation Partner since their official involvement began in 2019.

Over 40 students will be a part of the action including those studying to be music performers, lighting and sound technicians, and designers and artists who have created an engaging environment within the Glover Park ‘Creative Distraction’ zone sponsored by Massey University.

The College is excited to help deliver this annual cutting-edge, iconic, participatory and grassroots creative event for Wellington that is unique, accessible, interactive, and tells the Wellington story.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Creative Arts Claire Robinson says, “CubaDupa is a great fit for us as Aotearoa’s most exciting creative arts tertiary provider. Our partnership is an excellent opportunity to introduce our students and graduates to the creative communities of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, showcase their amazingly diverse work, and support them as emerging creatives.”

Massey’s Creative Distraction stage offers a steaming programme of music performances across the 2-day festival and features a 3-hour set by the Something Something collective, a student initiative established at Massey that provides a platform for emerging creative personalities (Androgynous Lemon, Crystal, Solomon Crook to name a few).  

All performances are supported by top-end equipment supplied by Massey, alongside the lighting sound and production expertise of Massey students.

With wrist banding for R18s in the bar, the zone offers entertainment for all ages, from the New Telepathics to Chantal Claret.

The festival offers unique opportunities that benefits both the university and festival directors, providing a real-life platform for students to expand their skills and learning, as well as the chance to support their local community. At the same time their involvement becomes a direct funnel of creativity for CubaDupa’s Creative Directory, with internships regularly leading to creative positions within the Festival team.

One example is Ed Hamling, who graduated with a Bachelor of Design with Honours in Spatial Design last year, and having interned for CubaDupa through a course paper, is now employed as Content Creator for the Fringe and Cuba Dupa Festivals. Similarly graduates Nina Smith, Elleana Dumper and students Justin Cederholm, Sophie Forsyth, Maeve O’Connell and Joe Ogle have all undertaken key roles in installation design, grant coordination, web and marketing design and production.

Festival Director Gerry Paul has been a guest lecturer in a number of courses offered by the college and provided live briefs for students interested in gaining experience in festival and event production.  This has allowed him to work closely with staff and students to develop ideas and projects,  benefitting both the students coursework and inspiring new directions for the festival.

He says the partnership gives them a unique and exciting opportunity to be able to engage with the next generation of young creative industry professionals.

“We are able to give these students valuable and real insight into the way complex events come together and for us as an organisation; it is super exciting to see the event through the eyes of fresh and creative students who are energetic and enthusiastic.”

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Toi Rauwhārangi
College of Creative Arts
Wellington, Aotearoa