Panel Discussions

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
— Maya Angeloiu

Courageous Conversations

Friday 20th September      6pm      The Meteor Theatre

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 Are you sick of biting your tongue when people talk about mental health, body image and women’s rights? Embracing these defining moments and turning them into conversations can be a lot harder than just agreeing. In our panel Courageous Conversations we are breaking the stigma of speaking up by bringing together a panel of authentic women from different walks of life who have defined their lives with these courageous conversations. 

 YWCA’s Courageous Conversations aims to bring the hard topics to the surface and inspire women to acknowledge their power and use their voices to speak up about the issues that affect them. 

 This panel will host guest speakers including coach Briony (Untapped with Briony), mental wellness expert Rachel (Kamala), and Dancing With The Stars star Jessica Quinn amongst other inspiring experts with their own story and desire to tell it.  

 Tickets: KOHA

Spinning Yarns and Tall Tales

Tuesday 24th September                7pm              The Meteor Theatre

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“We tell ourselves stories in order to live” as writer Joan Didion once said. We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. They are the signal within the noise.  

Join us to celebrate the art of storytelling, as Toi Wāhine and Nimbus Media present Spinning Yarns and Tall Tales, a discussion about, and sharing of, our stories. 

If stories themselves are universal, the way we tell them changes with the technology and medium we use. Hear from a varied panel of storytellers across an array of genres and experience some of their work. And share your own story from the red chair or join the digital storytelling project happening over the night. Go to the festival website for details on the inspiring women involved.

Panelists include:

Jan Maree Franicevic – One of New Zealand’s most successful female comedians Jan-Maree began her career as a poet. Moving from spoken word to stand-up she has won all the big comedy awards and is now back to poetry again. She is a maestro at live performance, a talented writer and is in hot demand as an MC and Celebrant in her adopted town of Hamilton.  

Cian Gardner– Cian Gardner is a writer and performer on the rise. Founder of Cove Theatre company, their first show Rauru sold out in Hamilton, Rotorua and Kia Mau in Wellington. The world premiere of Sorry For Your Loss, her follow up solo show about her own life, opened the festival and has CNZ support to tour NZ in the coming year.  

Dr Alison Barrett – Dr Alison Barrett is the former head of maternity services at Waikato Hospital and is a firm believer in telling the real stories in the medical profession. She is the author of several articles about speaking up about practices and advocate for hearing the truth told. 

Fiona Collins– Fiona Collins has been involved in films including Vai, Moana and The Orator, runs a casting company all while teaching at the National University of Samoa. Actor, writer and director Fiona Collins is currently showing New Zealand audiences her contemporary family drama AloFA on a national performance tour. 

Shelly Davies – From over 25 years of experience Shelly Davies brings writing, joy and badassery to people all over NZ who want to learn to write better. Writing, publishing and teaching rock her world, with TEDX talks and awards along the way. She tells her own authentic story proudly and is excited to help others tell theirs.  


In association with…


The Voices of Women - He Māngai Wāhine

Thursday 26th September                7pm              The Meteor Theatre

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Hear local women share their stories and insights on issues facing our The Voices of Women - He Māngai Wāhine.

Our inaugural panel on International Women’s Day 2019 (Angela O’Leary, Prof. Priya Kurian, Jamie Toko and Catherine Delahunty) spoke on the importance of diversity and participation in local government.  You told us you wanted more events like this, so we’re pleased to be coming together again for the Toi Wāhine Festival 2019! 

Women who identify a need and lead a response, play a crucial role in making our communities safer and better.  Anger, fear, frustration, maternalism and grief can drive ordinary women to do extraordinary things.  Our extraordinary speakers will share their stories, insights and advice to inspire others to lead change in our communities.   The mana wāhine on this panel are still on their journey, so it’s our hope that we can connect and mobilise support for their kaupapa as we learn from them.  The panel will be facilitated by Kelli Pike (Kelli from the Tron) a podcaster, event organiser and political agitator.  

Speakers include: Founder of NZ's first Maori Women's Refuge Roni Albert, wellbeing app creator Mihi Smith and Inclusive Aotearoa Collective founder Anjum Rahman.

Tickets: $15 General Admission