Our Capoeira


Capoeira (Kapo - way - ra with a rolled 'r') is a unique cultural art from Brazil. It was developed by Africans and their descendants, enslaved on Brazil's vast sugar and coffee plantations. It is a fighting art integrated with music, movement, gymnastics, theatrics and play.

Practiced in an atmosphere charged with percussion and song two players out-move each other, they flow over and around each other weaving kicks and other attacks in constant dance-like motion. They tease and taunt each other and frustrate each others tricks. They joke and jibe with theatrics but are always on the lookout for that sudden attack. Capoeira commands respect and camaraderie among diverse people yet trust is not a virtue. Receiving your friend's blessing has more than one meaning.

Capoeira is a fighting art and a dynamic performing art. It is a vigorous sport and casual recreation. It is an art of powerful African-Brazilian percussion and song. Capoeira mixes fight and play, co-operation and confrontation, gymnastics and theatrics, malice and playful taunting, percussion and song into a dynamic cultural expression.

... and who is this Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa?

Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa is a national school with classes of all levels for adults and children. Beginners can start any time during the year. Some centres offer beginner block courses. There are also several workshops through the year in each centre. See the Class Timetable page for more specific information. 

It was initiated by Grant Cole (Mestre Brabo) and built by a growing group of dedicated students. We are part of Capoeira Mandinga (Mestre Caveirinha) and come from the lineage of Mestre Suassuana and Grupo Cordão de Ouru. We hold proud to that heritage hold on to the norms and protocols of capoeira that Mestre Caveirinha has taught. Brabo was taught by Marcelo for six years before he returned to Aotearoa/New Zealand in the early 1990's.

Classes were set up to plant Capoeira here and have slowly grown since. Brabo's classes are in Auckland but there are now classes being taught by students in Wellington, Hamilton, Mt Maunganui, Nelson, Christchurch an Dunedin who above all want someone to play Capoeira with.

The name has its own history. Initially it was just Pasifika, mainly to establish the identity of Capoeira in the Pacific. Recently we changed the name, adding Mandinga and Aotearoa for various reasons. Now we are simply Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa

We do not express other people's lives through our Capoeira. Capoeira can take hold of your insides whether you're Brazilian or not and you put into it the mandinga that you have. The mandinga that you have is the only thing that brings your vadiagem, your jogar, your chamada, YOUR Capoeira to life. For most of us here that mandinga was born, fed and developed in the Pacific and our Capoeira will inevitably reflect that. It needs to for it to be a live art form. Pasifika more than names the place where our group is learning and practicing Capoeira.

Its intention is to make us dig into the questions of who we are and what relationship we are building by practicing Capoeira in the Pacific. What are we doing? What are we exploring in the practice of Capoeira? Are we merely trying to mimic the cultural expressions of another society or is there something within Capoeira that diverse people around the world identify with? We want students to think about these things when they seriously practice capoeira