nancy brunning

Ko te kaiwhakahāere
Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe

Nancy has been involved in professional theatre since 1992 after graduating Te Kura Toi Whakaari o Aotearoa in 1991. 

She joined the core cast of Shortland Street and left after two years to return to Māori theatre, her greatest passion. She has spent the majority of her career establishing herself as a theatre actor, director and dramaturg working with professional Māori theatre company Taki Rua Productions for well over 15 years. 

Nancy has acted for theatre throughout New Zealand and has directed theatre in English and Māori. She also works as an actor and dramaturg with some of New Zealand’s most celebrated Māori playwrights such as Briar Grace-Smith, Witi Ihimaera, Hone Kouka and Albert Belz to name a few.  

In 2011 she completed her first play, Hīkoi, which premiered at the 2015 Auckland Arts Festival. Nancy was selected as first Indigenous NZ Writer at the Banff Indigenous Writers Residency in Canada 2014. 

Nancy is also an actor in television and film. Her latest film, Mahana, directed by Lee Tamahori based on the novel Bulibasha by Witi Ihimaera, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2016. She has also recorded many plays and short stories for Radio NZ and, most recently, has been a casting agent and kaitautoko for the documentary/drama film Belief about the tragic death of Wainuiomata resident Janet Moses. 

She established Hāpai Productions with cofounder Tanea Heke in 2013. Here she has produced, written and directed works such as Hīkoi and Portrait of an Artist Mongrel which celebrates the writing of Rowley Habib and was presented at Kia Mau Festival Wellington in 2016 and again at this year's Auckland Writers Festival. Within Hāpai Productions, Nancy has project managed the fabulous Lindah Lepou Exhibition celebrating her 25 year collection at Government House in 2017. 

In 2018 and 2019 Hāpai will produce Mitch Tawhi Thomas' new work Pakaru at Kia Mau Festival and Nancy’s new play Kingdom of Women/Taniwha Women (working title) as well as developing, writing and presenting a new work called Witi’s Wāhine for the inaugural Te Tai Rawhiti Arts Festival in 2019. 

This is the second time Nancy has directed one of Albert Belz's plays. The first was as associate director with Nathanial Lees for Albert's award winning Awhi Tapu in 2003.

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