Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School



New Zealand’s most innovative leadership programme



The most successful acting course in New Zealand for almost 50 years



The only stage and screen design degree in New Zealand



A broad foundation for a fulfilling career



The only course in New Zealand specialising in costume construction for stage and screen

I ref­er­ence my train­ing at Toi con­stantly. The act­ing course gave me con­fid­ence, tech­nique and stam­ina that have served me on every set and in every rehearsal or audi­tion room I have walked into. 

Brooke WilliamsOutrageous Fortune, Spartacus, The Almighty Johnsons, The Shannara Chronicles

Study at Toi Whakaari

New Zealand’s leading specialist tertiary education provider for the performing arts





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Latest News

Keep up with Toi students, staff and grads

Back to School for 2017

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The 2017 school year is well and truly under way with our new students welcomed at an emotional pōwhiri at Te Whaea yesterday. Week One of term is an important period for us as we settle teina (new students) in to the school, get to know them and our second years get used to the role of tuakana (or older siblings) taking on more senior roles.

Click below for a gallery of images from the pōwhiri.

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Bachelor of Performing Arts (Acting) - 2016 Graduating Class: (l-r) Ana Scotney, Batanai Mashingaidze, Valeria Mendoza-Davis, James Gordon, Grace Bentley, Tyler Wilson-Kokiri, James O'Donovan, Georgia Pringle, Ryan McIntyre, Lydia Peckham, Francesca Berge, Samuel Austin, Ella Gilbert, Ellie Neal, Ariadne Baltazar, Will Moffatt, Kalisha Wasasala, Tom Clarke

2016 Graduation Class Photos

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Two weeks ago we waved goodbye to our 2016 graduate classes in Acting, Management, Design, Costume, Entertainment Technology and Directing.

We wish them well as they start the next chapter of their careers. We will miss them.

Click below for more photos…

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Miranda Harcourt Q&A

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Miranda Harcourt is an award-winning actor, director, writer and acting coach. A graduate of Toi Whakaari and former Head of Acting at the school, she now works as a screen-acting coach all over the world on projects including Bridge to Terabithia (Gabor Csupo), The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson), Top of the Lake (Jane Campion) Lion and Mary Magdalene (Garth Davis).

Most recently Miranda co-directed feature film The Changeover alongside  Stuart McKenzie, who wrote the screenplay from Margaret Mahy’s acclaimed novel.

Amongst those she has coached, Miranda counts Nicole Kidman, Juliette Binoche, Anna Sophia Robb, Josh Hutcherson, Dev Patel as well as many others.

Miranda was at Toi earlier in the year working with the first year actors on “Actor in Relationship” and we talked to her about her approach to this and her work as an acting coach.

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Three students awarded scholarships for 2017

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The board, staff, students and graduates of Toi Whakaari were thrilled to congratulate three of our best and brightest at this year’s graduation ceremony.

Second year acting students Puawai Winterburn (Ngati Raukawa, Ngapuhi, Ngati Porou) and Richard MacDonald (Tuhoe) were recipients of this year’s prestigious Bill Guest Awards and second year management student Olivia Chan received the inaugural Ruku Ao Award at the event on 9 November.

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Contact Us

Addresses, phone numbers, email and a map


Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School
Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre
11 Hutchison Road
Wellington 6021
New Zealand 


General Enquiries


+64 4 381 9251 


Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School
PO Box 7146
Wellington South 6242
New Zealand 

Key staff list

Christian Penny Director

Heather Timms Director of Actor Training

Lisa Maule Senior Tutor – Production

Penny Fitt Associate Director and Head of Design and Production
ddi: +64 4 381 9244

Kaarin Macaulay Head of Costume
ddi: +64 4 381 9247

Kris Wehipeihana Nola Millar Library Manager
ddi: +64 4 381 9218

Dan Slevin Marketing & Communications Manager
mob: +64 21 442 989

Craig Atkins School Registrar
ddi: +64 4 381 9211

For application & student enquiries, please email apply@toiwhakaari.ac.nz

For visits and workshop enquiries, please contact Sascha Perfect at workshops@toiwhakaari.ac.nz

Venue Hire

Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre (home of Toi Whakaari) is hugely exciting and alive, with high, cathedral-like ceilings. You are entering one of the best performance training facilities in New Zealand.

Toi Whakaari shares Te Whaea with the New Zealand School of Dance and the building is purpose built as a centre for teaching performing arts. Large and modern, with state of the art facilities, Te Whaea is located in Newtown on part of Wellington’s ‘green belt’ nature reserve, five minutes drive from the heart of the city and has ample parking.

Te Whaea was previously the Winter Show Buildings in Newtown Wellington.

Space is occasionally available for hire when not in use by the Schools. Click here for information on spaces and costs.

To enquire about venue bookings please contact reception@tewhaea.org.nz