The Vultures: Play puts spotlight on privilege, environment and leadership

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A new play "The Vultures" brings modern Māori issues on stage. Writer and director Miria George (Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Kuki Airini),  says it's about family, privilege, the environment and leadership.

Miria George (Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Kuki Airini) says, “Should whānau Māori come from privilege, how do they continue to use their priviledge to protect the environment and protect the wider hapū or iwi.”

There are multiple themes threaded throughout.

Up-and-coming actor Ani-Piki Tuari (Takitimu, Horouta, Mātaatua) says, “Family and the connections between members, the relationship between those ties and our modern context.”

Actor Kimo Houltham (Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa) says, “There are also themes of sustainability, the water and land throughout New Zealand.”

“The ideas around the burning fires of occupation, lingering occupation and extinguished occupation” says Tuari.

Miria George hopes the play will provide thought provoking content around ideas of Māori leadership today.

“Privilege in terms of landed, have language, have education and have a financial resource and do they use that to wield the power or do they use that to protect and uplift the whānau whānui” says George.

A Māori cast starring Nicola Kawana, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Erina Daniels, Ani-Piki Tuari and Kimo Houltham. Ani-Piki and Kimo say they are grateful to be learning from such experienced actors.

“Sitting under their wing I'm learning how to enter different characters beyond myself” says Tuari.

“They're really good at playing with the words and experiences, as I read the script and think I should be really settled at this part but when they come in they can alter suggest to make this part funny or drop an idea there so it’s great” says Houltham.

He says although theatre may not be a high paying profession, it's about the passion.

"Because I work on television that pays my bills, but this work on the stage appeases the desires of my heart."

The play will be performed at Q Theatre in Auckland from 18-21 October.