2020 Arts Foundation Laureate receiving the Burr/Tatham Trust Award
Born in Turangi Moss’s proud ancestry comes from both the central north island and northern tribes of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Moss has been a professional dance artist in Aotearoa for the past 21 years. Patterson studied physical theatre and music in Dunedin before moving to Auckland to study dance and choreography at the Unitec Performing Arts School. Over the ensuing years, Moss worked with Footnote Dance, Black Grace, Touch Compass, Atamira Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Moss became a freelance choreographer and director in 2002 at the age of twenty-five and was appointed as the first Artistic Director of Atamira Dance Company in 2010 taking the company to major new heights as New Zealand’s leading Indigenous dance company touring both nationally and internationally. Moss has developed a significant body of distinctive choreographic work presented on New Zealand’s largest and most prestigious platforms for dance. “That’s what really fires me up, being able to work on something that has ancient roots but at the same time is fresh and new.”
In 2007 Moss’s first major work Whakairo won best choreography and Design at TEMPO Dance Festival. In 2013 his works Moko and Haka were presented at the prestigious Jacobs Pillow USA opening the way for international touring of Moss’s distinctive work. In 2015 his major work Moko toured both China and Korea and from 2016 - 2018 two newly commissioned major works Pango and Marama toured Taiwan, China, Korea and New Zealand. From 2011 – 2017 Moss collaborated with the Auckland Philarmonia Orchestra choreographing and directing a series of six large-scale dance works drawing artists from diverse communities all over Auckland city and presented at the Auckland International Arts Festival. Moss has had the opportunity also to choreograph major international ceremonies including the widely-lauded New Zealand Rugby World Cup opening ceremony at Auckland’s Eden Park and the League of Legends World opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympic Stadium.
Moss has worked closely at grass roots level across multiple residencies with acclaimed indigenous artists which has stimulated the flow of indigenous knowledge exchange and contributed positively to Māori arts practises and research here in Aotearoa. Moss recently featured prominently in two international dance film documentaries Te Manu Ahi in 2015 and The Heart Dances in 2019 presented at the NZ and multiple international film festivals.
Moss is the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Tup Lang Dance scholarship and the Te Whakahaungia Choreographic Award from Toi Māori Aotearoa and in 2019 he established a new whanau company label called TOHU where he has initiated a series of exciting new art works. In 2020 Moss was scheduled to develop new work in Taiwan and South Korea as well as present his work Pango in New York.
Moss continues to be a passionate advocate for the empowerment of Maori culture, Te Reo Māori, and contemporary dance in Aotearoa, New Zealand. ”Choreography is like magic to me and I search constantly for movement that can reveal hidden truths about ourselves and moments of beauty that remind us of our true nature”.