Te reo Maori theatre to grace Gisborne stage

THE COLOUR OF GREEN: Performed entirely in te reo, Maori language advocate Hohepa Waitoa’s play He Kura E Huna Ana is set in two time periods — one ancestral and one contemporary. That the two are inseparable, and losing sight of our origins can be dangerous, is the premise of the story. Picture supplied

The origins of pounamu in Arahura Valley is told in the play He Kura E Huna Ana that Wellington theatre company Taki Rua will stage at the War Memorial Theatre this month.

Written by Maori language advocate Hohepa Waitoa, the play is set in two time periods — one ancestral, and one contemporary. That the two are inseparable, and losing sight of our origins can be dangerous, is the premise of the play based on the myth of Waitaiki, her enraptured abductor Poutini and the grief felt by Waitaiki’s lover, Tamaahua.

Waitaiki was bathing in the sea in the Bay of Plenty when Poutini, a taniwha, saw her. Enthralled by her beauty, he captured her.

Tamaahua chased Poutini across the country’s two islands and found him at the Arahura River on the South Island’s West Coast. Poutini turned Waitaiki into greenstone and laid her in a river bed location near a stream. That stream became known as Waitaiki, a significant source of pounamu.

In Waitoa’s play, young Hine returns to her home town on the anniversary of her family’s death and seeks consolation in the myths of Arahura. Raised solely by her grandmother, Hine battles the grief that left her ancestor transformed into pounamu.

He Kura E Huna Ana is drawn from traditional Ngati Waewae storytelling and is performed entirely in te reo Maori.

“Like pounamu, every person has a story,” says Waitoa.

“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.”

By working in te reo Maori, director Nancy Brunning aspires to take audiences on an emotional journey that transcends time and place.

“Our ancestors communicate with us today through korero, waiata, whakatauaki (sayings) and purakau (legends). It’s a practice we’ve learned through osmosis that connect us with everything around us.”

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

Ngati Porou singer, musician and radio DJ Sheree Waitoa joins the team as a live musician.

  • He Kura E Huna Ana, War Memorial Theatre, June 22, 7pm. Tickets available from Stephen Jones Photography. Adults $25, children and seniors $15, group of 10, $100.

The origins of pounamu in Arahura Valley is told in the play He Kura E Huna Ana that Wellington theatre company Taki Rua will stage at the War Memorial Theatre this month.

Written by Maori language advocate Hohepa Waitoa, the play is set in two time periods — one ancestral, and one contemporary. That the two are inseparable, and losing sight of our origins can be dangerous, is the premise of the play based on the myth of Waitaiki, her enraptured abductor Poutini and the grief felt by Waitaiki’s lover, Tamaahua.

Waitaiki was bathing in the sea in the Bay of Plenty when Poutini, a taniwha, saw her. Enthralled by her beauty, he captured her.

Tamaahua chased Poutini across the country’s two islands and found him at the Arahura River on the South Island’s West Coast. Poutini turned Waitaiki into greenstone and laid her in a river bed location near a stream. That stream became known as Waitaiki, a significant source of pounamu.

In Waitoa’s play, young Hine returns to her home town on the anniversary of her family’s death and seeks consolation in the myths of Arahura. Raised solely by her grandmother, Hine battles the grief that left her ancestor transformed into pounamu.

He Kura E Huna Ana is drawn from traditional Ngati Waewae storytelling and is performed entirely in te reo Maori.

“Like pounamu, every person has a story,” says Waitoa.

“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.”

By working in te reo Maori, director Nancy Brunning aspires to take audiences on an emotional journey that transcends time and place.

“Our ancestors communicate with us today through korero, waiata, whakatauaki (sayings) and purakau (legends). It’s a practice we’ve learned through osmosis that connect us with everything around us.”

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

Ngati Porou singer, musician and radio DJ Sheree Waitoa joins the team as a live musician.

  • He Kura E Huna Ana, War Memorial Theatre, June 22, 7pm. Tickets available from Stephen Jones Photography. Adults $25, children and seniors $15, group of 10, $100.

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