Michael Jackson's dance moves are coming to Matariki along with many other performances to celebrate the beginning of the Maori New Year this weekend.
The month-long Matariki festival kicks off tomorrow and will feature more than 50 different events showcasing Maori art, dance and language.
Dolina Wihipeihana is one of the founding choreographers and dancers from the Atamira Dance Company whose work will feature as part of the festival.
The company is presenting its show Kaha, a performance that consists of eight short dance works inspired by New Zealand's history, legends and Aotearoa's issues. Kaha Short Works will show at Q Theatre from tomorrow until Saturday.
"It's such a diverse range of works. There are some pieces that are really athletic and dancey or pieces that are quite conceptual."
Ms Wihipeihana says one piece of the dance work is inspired by Maori tattoos and kowhaiwhai designs.
Another work looks at the idea of being connected or disconnected from your whakapapa or family roots.
"It's all really dynamic, really athletic and it's a show with a lot of oomph," Ms Wihipeihana says.
For her piece, the dancer has redeveloped Poi E Thriller, the infamous and iconic dance she choreographed for Taika Waititi's movie Boy.
Ms Wihipeihana says being involved in the movie was a fun experience where she got to work with talented young Maori.
"Taika saw an opportunity to take the Thriller dance and put a Maori and Kiwi flavour on it.
"It's not surprising but kapa haka moves and Michael Jackson moves actually go really well together."
The Sandringham resident says Matariki is an exciting time for all New Zealanders to celebrate how unique our culture is.
"It's a chance to step back and connect with nature, connect with each other and be proud of who we are as Maori and Kiwis. And I really see it as a celebration for all in New Zealand, not just Maori," she says.
Matariki festival producer Mikki-Tae Tapara says these days more people are aware of the different aspects of Maori culture.
"More Maori are being taught within Maori language schools now and along with more cultural awareness, all of this has combined to spike and rejuvenate the Matariki festival."
Mr Tapara says the festival is a great way for Auckland to celebrate one of its many cultures as well as introduce international visitors to the Maori culture.
"One thing this festival does is make Maori culture more accessible.
"People are able to do things like walk through a marae and learn more about the culture."
The festival attracts thousands of people every year.
The festival will be officially launched by mayor Len Brown at a dawn karakia on One Tree Hill tomorrow.
Matariki runs until July 21. Visit matarikifestival.org.nz for more information.
– Ciara Pratt is an AUT journalism student
- © Fairfax NZ News