Topics: Entertainment, Arts

First Te Reo Māori play to feature at Christchurch Arts Festival

  • South Island
Pictured with principal actors, left, Kihere Aumua-Jahnke, who plays characters Waitaiki and Hine, with Tyson Tangaroa, who plays Poutini, a pounamu guardian

 For the very first time, a te reo Māori production will be staged at The Court Theater in Christchurch.  It takes the form of a play written and directed by CPIT's Bachelor of Māori Language and Indigenous Studies programme leader, Hohepa Waitoa. 

The play is called Ngā Tai o Kurawaka: He Kura e Huna Ana and will be conducted entirely in te reo. 

It is set in two worlds and follows the traditional narrative of a famous Māori legend about the origins of pounamu, as well as a story about modern-day issues.

Waitoa says, "It's about the realities of life and choosing whether to face issues and overcome them or to run away.  The play explored the theme that like pounamu, every person has a story, and everyone and everything has a beginning. The trouble is, sometimes we forget, or maybe we don't always know where we come from, which leads to an often painful cultural and spiritual disconnection with where we come from and who we are."

This is Waitoa's first play on such a scale.

“It pulls together many aspects that I’m passionate about in Maori culture, including performance, language and legends.  I see myself doing a lot more of this sort of thing, climbing up the hill behind the older more established writers,” he adds.

 Ngā Tai o Kurawaka: He Kura e Huna Ana, will be shown from September 8-10.

For more information, you can follow The Court Theatre Facebook page.