When theatre-maker Troy Tu'ua decided to make a show about climate change in the Pacific, he held open auditions and invited all 50 who turned up to be part of Fonua (Tongan for land).

Tu'ua describes it as a performance piece where the audience doesn't sit still but moves around the Mangere Arts Centre watching real people tell real stories - through dance, music and song - about the impact of climate change on their lives.

With performers aged 8-55 from right across the Pacific, including New Zealand, Tu'ua wanted as many as possible to share the types of stories they told him when he started Fonua. He was particularly moved by a young woman, Vita, from Fiji, who told the group about her family's home village.

"She said the village used to be inland; now you can step out of your home and jump in the water."

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Fonua tackles the impact of climate change on Pacific peoples.
Fonua tackles the impact of climate change on Pacific peoples.

So while debates and discussions rage about climate change, renewal energy and fossil fuels, Tu'ua says many in the Pacific have gone well beyond needing more talk about the issue. They need action - urgently.

As one of Auckland's emerging Pacific theatre-makers, he hopes Fonua will continue to draw attention to climate change but also offer ideas about what each and every one of us can do.

"It sounds like a cliche but you know if we all walked down to the shops instead of driving or took the bus to work, recycled, cut our consumption of stuff like plastic bags, it would make a difference. It takes a village to make effective change, but it takes one individual to start that change."
Fonua: March 11 and 12 at 8pm, Mangere Arts Centre.

EYE SPY
While Tu'ua was speaking to aspiring performers, photographers Brendan Kitto, Emily Mafile'o, Raymond Sagapolutele and Jos Wheeler were introducing children aged 6-12 to the joys of photography.

Forty kids, from all over Auckland, were given a basic Canon camera and a five-day photography course. They took pictures before choosing which to show in Eye Spy exhibitions across the region.

Sagapolutele, from Manurewa, says day one saw a lot of selfies taken.

"That's understandable given the way things are, but then there was a subtle shift when the kids started moving the camera away from them and focusing on their families, their pets - if they had them - the food they ate for dinner or the places around them."

What emerged was a clear picture of young lives and what's important to them. It turns out it's not so different to when Sagapolutele was playing around with cameras in the 1970s and 80s.

"For a lot of them, there was a really strong family theme," he said.

"Even when the parents were separated, they wanted both mum and dad in the photos because they love them equally. The connection to family and friends seemed to come through most often."

What's most important, Sagapolutele says is that the kids had a good time and might have even developed a life-long interest.

"We kept coming back to the idea that with a camera, the world's your oyster and you can do what you want."

Eye Spy exhibitions: Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush, March 8-26; Northart at Northcote Shopping Centre, March 8-23; Otara Leisure Centre, March 8-26 and Corban Estate Art Centre in Henderson, March 17-20.

Prayas performers rehearse for Samaroh - The Great Indian Carnival.
Prayas performers rehearse for Samaroh - The Great Indian Carnival.

SAMAROH- THE GREAT INDIAN CARNIVAL
As youngsters were taking pictures across Auckland, Ahi Karunaharan was surveying Sandringham Rd Reserve to work out how to recreate an Indian night market.
Karunaharan, who wrote and produced NZ's first Sri Lankan play, describes the undertaking as a "little bit massive" but he's in good company.

He'll work with 18 actors and seven musicians from Prayas Theatre Company on a piece about a travelling theatre company in India.

The premise is simple: the company arrives at a village to perform its show; villagers gather to find there's as much drama behind the scenes as in front of them. It means audience members may be gently co-opted into joining in.

"There'll be lots of audience interaction, but we'll be charming about it."

The show is three hours but audiences can stay for as little or long as they like. There'll be plenty to see. Karunaharan says as a community theatre company, Prayas' great strength is its diverse backgrounds which will be useful for creating a busy market-style atmosphere.

"We've got someone who can give head massages; another might set up a stall and offer accounting advice and then there's Renu Chikka, who's a cook and will set up a spice stand and talk to people about the history behind the spices and how to make their own blend."

Samaroh - The Great Indian Carnival, Saturday March 18 at 6pm-9pm, Sandringham Rd Reserve.