Topics: Arts, Entertainment, Rereātea - Midday News, Te Reo Māori

Māori theatre show first of its kind to tour North Island

By Jessica Tyson
  • Auckland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty
  • North Island: West Coast
  • North Island: East Coast
  • Wellington

After three years in the making, the te reo Māori theatre piece He Kura E Huna Ana is set to tour the North Island during Matariki.

Written by Māori language advocate Hōhepa Waitoa and directed by Nancy Brunning, He Kura E Huna Ana is the first adult-orientated Taki Rua play performed in te reo Māori to go on tour in Aotearoa.

Drawn from traditional Ngāti Waewae korero, the show tells of the origins of pounamu in Arahura Valley; when Tauranga Moana ancestor Waitaiki was abducted by the jealous taniwha Poutini, and Waitaiki's lover Tamaahua pursues them to the depths of the Arahura River.

The show also features the lead character, Hine. Returning to her papa kāinga on the anniversary of her family's death, young Hine seeks consolation in the myths of Arahura.

Raised solely by her grandmother, Hine battles the grief that left her tipuna transformed into pounamu.

He Kura E Huna Ana. Source: The Court Theatre 2015

Brunning hopes the show will take audiences on an emotional journey which transcends time and place.

“Our ancestors communicate with us today through kōrero, waiata, whakatauāki and pūrākau.  It’s a practice we've learned through osmosis that connect us with everything around us; ki te whenua, ki te ātea; nō hea mātou, he aha mātou i kōnei ai, a, e haere ana mātou ki hea," says Brunning.

Set in two distinct time periods - one ancestral, and one contemporary - He Kura E Huna Ana shows that the two are inseparable and losing sight of our origins can be dangerous.

Waitoa says, “Like pounamu, every person has a story.  Everyone and everything has a beginning.  The trouble is we don't always know where we come from, which leads to a painful cultural and spiritual disconnection with who we are”.   

He Kura E Huna Ana. Source: The Court Theatre 2015

The show will feature actors Tanea Heke (Waru), Scotty Cotter (Shortland Street), Nepia Takuira-Mita (Ahikāroa) and newcomer Puawai Blossom Winterburn, who plays the lead role of Hine.

The show will visit Wellington before heading to Tauranga, Gisborne, Auckland, Hamilton and New Plymouth from June 12.