Friends of Nancy Brunning


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"He kōkonga whare e kitea, he kōkonga ngākau e kore e kitea" (1)

"Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but is it okay if my daughter and I have our photo taken with you?"

Anyone that has spent time out and about with Nancy Brunning knows this is a regular question from kiwis. Humble as always, Nan always obliges, in her shy way. Every time she does, she reminds us of how important it is, for all of us, to have strong story tellers representing Aotearoa.

When we watch our friend pose for the photo, out of her comfort zone but with love, our hearts sing as we see the connection Nan has made with so many people through her exceptional talent, deep knowing and commitment to the arts in Aotearoa. We are reminded of the moments we've had where Nan has transformed and inspired us on stage, and screen, and given us insight that has changed our lives.

Our dear friend, he wahine toa (2) , is unwell. But we can help. With the marvels of medicine we can show our love for Nan by buying us all more time with her. We can ensure that she finishes some important projects including the first show that was announced for the inaugural Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival. Developed and written by Nan, with the blessing of Witi Ihimaera, 'Witi's Wahine', premieres in October 2019 at the festival in Gisborne.

"She was my first Nanny Flowers to ride the whale and ever since then she has been leading the way riding the whale of performing arts for all women in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Darling Nancy keep on riding the whale of performing arts and leading us onward!" Witi Ihimaera

Nancy played Nanny Flowers while at her highschool, Taupō-nui-a-Tia

We have an opportunity to give a gift to someone who has given so much to our country. Nan has taught us the power of generosity by always being there for us and the sector. Through her, we have learned what commitment to a role brings as she gifted herself to us, in a totally selfless and exceptionally powerful way, every time she stepped onto the stage, directed works or featured on screen.

You might have seen Nan on screen in 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted' or as Jaki Manu on 'Shortland Street'. On stage you could have been there for ground breaking performances, such as in the New Zealand Festival with 'Hide 'n' Seek' and 'Waiora' and 'Blue Smoke'. You may have worked with her. For example, Nan was the acting coach on Taika Waititi's Oscar nominated 'Two Cars One Night'.

Currently Nan is a writer, director and producer with Hāpai Productions - a company she created to uphold and celebrate Māori integrity. She wrote, directed and produced her first play 'Hikoi' in 2015, which premiered at the Auckland Arts Festivall. Last year she recrafted Roly Habib's writing into a theatrical work called 'Portrait of an Artist Mongrel'. Earlier this year, she directed Young and Hungry's touring project 'I am Māori' and was instrumental in assisting Mitch Tawhi Thomas to launch his new play 'Pakaru' at the Kia Mau Festival at BATS. Nan is a director, producer, dramaturge, administrator, board member, educator, keeper of truth and a fierce representative of Kaupapa Whakaari (3).

Doctors have given Nan the go ahead to have a special drug that is known to prolong life in these circumstances. However, the special medication is not subsidised and costs $7,000 per month. 

Let's ensure more time for Nan and more time for her mahi as an exceptional arts practitioner in Aotearoa. 



(1) One can see the corners of a house, but the corners of the heart are without bounds
(2) Although strong and hearty
(3) Māori in the theatrical arts

Nga mihi nui ki a Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival who provided the photos above, which were taken by Brennan Thomas - Strike Photography.