Toi Whakaari has international class facilities that were especially built for our needs at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre.

Te Whaea has many different performance spaces, including a 200 seat theatre (Te Whaea Theatre), an 80 seat studio theatre (Drama One) and three smaller studio-style performance areas, including SEEyD Space. Every space in the building has been used for performance at some time – even the walkways, toilets and corridors!

Toi Whakaari’s custom-built studios, workshops and other classrooms were specially designed to give all students the necessary space and resources to learn their craft.

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Our other facilities for students include:

  • A large communal Plaza used for powhiri, hanging out, front of house space and the occasional rehearsal
  • The Nola Millar Library – New Zealand’s best performing arts library
  • Heavily discounted membership at the Wellington Fitness Centre Gym
  • An onsite café – Great Aunt Jo’s
  • Access to Massey University Health and Counselling
  • Discounted or free tickets at Wellington professional theatres
  • A student kitchen and common room
  • Access to computers and wifi

Toi Whakaari is housed in Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre in Newtown, Wellington. Te Whaea is purpose built as a centre for teaching performing arts and is large and modern, with state of the art facilities.

The building is in Newtown on part of Wellington’s ‘green belt’ nature reserve, five minutes’ drive from the heart of the city

Toi Whakaari shares these premises with the New Zealand School of Dance. Although the two schools operate separately, dance staff teach some classes for Toi Whakaari and provide the students with an opportunity to explore the dance medium. Design and Entertainment Technology students provide technical and design support for both Schools.

Toi Whakaari has three large and four small drama studios. The larger studios all have sprung floors and mirrors to help with rehearsals.

The Lecture Theatre will eventually double as a light lab and projection room to show our films. The Lecture Theatre complements our current classrooms.

Our technical, management and design students can access various production offices, a sound studio, a computer lab, a prop-making workshop, a set construction workshop and an AV studio. We also have a CAD/design computer lab equipped with a complement of MACs with specialist software.

Specifically for our design students we have a large design studio and a small design studio.

Our Costume Workshop is equipped as a teaching space with industrial machines, overlockers, mannequins and cutting tables.

Great Aunt Jo’s

Caffeine often fuels Toi Whakaari and there’s nowhere better (and closer) for a good coffee (or chai, tea or hot chocolate) than Great Aunt Jo’s.

An independent business located within Te Whaea, Great Aunt Jo’s also provides good, healthy, cheap food designed to give starving students energy for the day. It’s usually open between 9am and 3pm on weekdays and offers sweets as well as meals and savouries.

Wellington Fitness Centre

Because staying fit and healthy is an important part of being a performing arts professional, Toi Whakaari has developed a relationship with the Wellington Fitness Centre,  located adjacent to Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre.

Toi Whakaari students have access to all the facilities there,  from  6am to 10pm, upon payment of a heavily discounted annual membership fee.

The Massey Health & Counselling Service

Toi Whakaari students have access to the services of Massey University Health. Health care is substantially subsidised. As of January 2014, a  minimum charge of $5 applies per visit.

The student services levy pays for this service. Directing students (who enrol at Victoria University), use Victoria University Health.

Massey’s Student Health and Counselling Centre offers high quality holistic health care. The Centre is staffed by doctors and nurses, counsellors, a physiotherapist and a nutritionist. It offers a general practice service, including ACC, sexual health and family planning consultations.

The Student Counselling Service at Massey Wellington offers a confidential, professional service dealing with issues such as relationships, self esteem, grief, anger management, sexuality and abuse. They offer a private, free and confidential service. All counsellors are members of a professional body and follow an appropriate Code of Ethics.

Common Room

Toi Whakaari students spend a lot of time at School, so it’s important to have an area for relaxing and cooking. The communal common room and kitchen are shared with the New Zealand School of Dance students and are right by Great Aunt Jo’s café

Toi Whakaari provides free tea and coffee for students and there is a microwave, sink, zip, fridge and oven available in the kitchen. The common room also has several computer terminals with internet access that are available when the building is open.

During busy times the common room gets used for rehearsals and we have put on cabaret shows and installation events here too.