Pablo’s Art Auction 2022

Art for art’s sake

Wellington Batucada at Pablo's Art Auction 2022. Photo by Rebecca Routhan.

Over the last 20 years Pablo’s Art Auction has gone from a small “Cuba Street vibe” alternative event to a rather up-market affair attended by Wellington’s literati, glitterati, art-erati and everything else-erati. It’s quite a big deal these days, and raises funds for Pablo’s Art Studios’ day-to-day work, providing art therapy, materials, art experiences and creative opportunities of all kinds to people who need them.

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Lumino Festival 2022

We’re singing and dancing in the rain!

Wellington Batucada at the Lumino Festival 2022. Photo by Nath Young.

Have you ever done that thing (probably when you were a kid) when you’re walking home from school – maybe with your mates who are coming round for tea – and the heavens open (no-one has an umbrella or a raincoat) and by the time you get home you’re all soaked to the skin and so high and excited by the sheer wet madness of it all that it ends up being one of the BEST DAYS EVER. Yeah no me neither.

Oh OK then, yes of course I did. Mum went a bit mad, as you can imagine, but the fact that I can remember it all in such detail all these years later says something about what a special experience it was.

This is the story of what that experience feels like when you’re grown-ups doing a drumming and dancing show on Wellington’s waterfront. In a tropical deluge.

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Day of the Dead – Mexican cultural festival 2022

Celebrating our ancestors together

Wellington Batucada at Day of the Dead 2022. Photo by Tom Etuata.

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festivities unfold over the first two days of November in an explosion of color and life-affirming joy. The theme is death, but the point is to demonstrate love and respect for deceased family members. In towns and cities throughout Mexico, revelers don funky makeup and costumes, hold parades and parties, sing and dance, and make offerings to lost loved ones.

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All Blacks vs Ireland half time performance 2022

With an audience of 37,000 that we could see, and a few more at home that we couldn’t…

Wellington Batucada performing at half time, All Blacks vs Ireland 2022

It’s the middle of winter. It’s very cold. We’re playing at night. I’m wearing two vests, two t-shirts, two pairs of leggings and a long skirt underneath my summer Batucada uniform.

But what total fun! A brilliant experience, and well worth braving the cold for (and we were super-hot!).

Wellington Batucada team photo after the All Blacks gig

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Re-opening of St James Theatre 2022

Celebrating the restoration of a Wellington cultural institution

We were thrilled to be invited to take part in the celebrations for the re-opening of the St James Theatre in the centre of Wellington. It’s been closed for three years getting earthquake strengthened, so it was brilliant to be included in the wide range of performance groups taking part.

Wellington Batucada dancers parading through the streets of Wellington

We began with a small group of drummers and dancers parading through town towards the St James, meeting up with parades of other performance groups approaching from all directions to kick off the celebrations.

Throughout the evening, many of Wellington’s rich and varied treasure trove of singers, dancers and performance groups of all kinds entertained the crowds outside the theatre. Wellington Batucada was honoured to be chosen to provide the final show of the evening.

Wellington Batucada drummers on stage outside the St James

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Beginners dance and drumming course 2022

We know heaps of you have already expressed an interest… so come and join us!

Batucada Beginners' Workshops 2022Come and learn to drum and dance alongside members of Wellington Batucada. Sign up for the 2022 Beginners classes now!

The Sunday afternoon classes will run for 6 weeks, from 24 July to 28 August 2022, 1pm – 3pm.

The cost is $120 for the course. There’s also a special price of $60 for Batucada members who are keen to learn a new instrument or refresh your skills.

Drumming classes will take place at the Cook Islands Society Hall, 220 Hanson St, Newtown.

Dance classes will take place at Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown (note new venue to accommodate more dancers).

Booking your spot on the 2022 course

UPDATE 06/07/22: The 2022 drumming beginners’ course is now FULLY SUBSCRIBED

However, as not everyone who registered has paid yet, there may be a small number of places that become available in the next couple of weeks. Please contact us at if you would like to be added to the waiting list for places on the drumming beginners’ course.

There are a few places still available on the dance course

Dancers please fill in the Beginners’ Dance registration form to register.

Once you’ve completed the form, please pay $120 via internet banking to:

Wellington Batucada
Reference “Your Name” and “Beginners”

If you have already registered but not yet paid, please make your payment as soon as possible, as we will be releasing any unpaid-for places on the course to people on our waiting list.

More info on our Join page

Harcourt’s Conference 2021

A short and sweet show in the TSB Arena

After an early, rainy start and some adventures negotiating traffic and on-site construction works the crew all assembled on-time and without losing anyone. Phew!

After a try-out for stage positions we waited in the green room and then started the show with a short, noisy, surprise parade into Shed 6 to round everyone up from the breakfast reception and then led them pied piper style across into the main TSB Arena stadium.

Once in there we paraded through the stadium seating and got onto the big stage (with a MASSIVE video screen behind us). Then we gave the crowd a blast of Samba Reggae and Merengue.

Wellington Batucada at the Harcourt's Conference, TSB Arena. On the big screen at the Arena. Photo by Deborah Shuker.

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Unite against COVID – filming a TV ad

Marching up and down again, performing for a great cause

Wellington Batucada drummers and dancers, filming Ka kite COVID TV ad. Photo by AliG.

It’s always the same when you do any sort of filming – it always starts later than planned, and there’s always heaps of waiting around. Fortunately for us, our good friends at El Barrio had provided part of their bar as our official Green Room, which meant that we had somewhere to store our stuff, get ready, hang out, socialise, and maybe even have a beer or two. What could be better?

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