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Word Up Finals

  • Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre Mount Lebanon Lane Auckland, Auckland New Zealand (map)

Entry by koha

An evening of original word-based performance by young people (in association with the Going West Books and Writer’s Festival). Be in the audience to hear young singer-songwriters, poets and rappers present their own original work. Yes, it is a contest, with prizes to be won!

The Judges


Marina Alefosio
Marina Alefosio is a Spoken Word Artist and Facilitator currently studying Creative Writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology. She has trained and performed for the last five years as a performance poet, participating in and leading community and youth groups in performance and poetry workshops. She was a member of the critically acclaimed South Auckland Poets Collective and has performed both locally and internationally at various venues and events including Nuyorican Poets Café, New York; Te Papa Museum, Wellington; Fringe Festival Adelaide and TEDX Auckland.


Bailey Wiley
"Bailey Wiley filters neo-soul classicism through modern, righteous and true live musicianship, her golden voice is both effortless and organic. She has fast gained the respect from her peers & audiences alike”.
After releasing her debut album IXL, in May 2014 to rave reviews her highly anticipated SOMM EP was released globally in April 2016 to huge praise from fans and industry peers. Bailey has already racked up an impressive amount of live performances & features, sharing the stage & collaborating with some of New Zealand’s most well-known musical talent. She has now taken that a step further collaborating with international artists.


Ken Arkind
Ken Arkind is an American National Poetry Slam Champion, Tedx Speaker, Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion and published author who has performed his work in 49 States, 7 countries and at over 300 colleges and universities. He is the founding Program Director of Denver Minor Disturbance, an independent literary arts organization dedicated to helping Colorado youth find voice through the mediums of poetry and performance. Ken has recently completed his Bachelor of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology specializing in creative writing. He works as a Poet/Youth Mentor for Action Education where he teaches workshops to youth through out the country and coordinates Word the Front line, Aotearoa’s first inter-scholastic Youth Poetry Slam.


The MC


Hadleigh Pouesi
Hadleigh (Hadz) has been an entertainer for over a decade. He is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, singer, actor and host. He has hosted some of New Zealand's biggest stages including Raggamuffin, Home Grown and Big Day Out, he is an on-air personality for Mai FM, and has presented for a number of television projects. Hadz has made a career from embracing the arts and is now on a journey of using his platforms to project new talent into the industry.

More info available at

Earlier Event: 7 September
Peter Paka Paratene
Later Event: 8 September
Opening Night