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A Recipe For Laughter Premieres On Maori TV

A Recipe For Laughter Premieres On Maori Television

Maori Television serves up a feast of laughs in the premiere of a hilarious new comedy series, KAI KORERO (Tuesday May 30 at 9.30 PM).

The six-part series brings together top acting talents George Henare (Ngati Porou), Annie Whittle, Vanessa Rare (Ngati Pukenga, Ngati Porou, Ngati Maru) and Geoff Dolan in a multi-cultural sitcom about two families who meet each Sunday for food, whanau and funny moments.

Sports scientist Ken Spalding (Dolan) and his physiotherapist wife Charlotte Rata (Rare) have two children - handsome budding league player Humphrey (Tainui Tukiwaho) and pro-Maori university student Ma (Kura Forrester). They also share their urban home with Pa Wiremu (Henare), Charlotte's staunch Ngati Porou father, while posh Muriel Spalding (Whittle) is Ken's mother.

Made by Auckland-based Front of the Box Productions, KAI KORERO is written by Kath Akuhata-Brown, with storylines from comedian Pio Terei.

Executive producer Claudette Hauiti says the series is an exciting challenge for the entire team including producer Carey Carter and production manager Neil James. "Not only do they create witty, humour-packed episodes on a tight schedule, they also incorporate current issues into each one," Hauiti says.

The show, in Maori and English, is filmed before a live studio audience two days before it airs to keep it fresh and up-to-date. With its mix of ages and cultures, Hauiti says KAI KORERO is a comedy with something for everyone.

"The idea of a blended whanau, with all the nuances and humour that brings, is something many New Zealanders can relate to," she says. "It's magnificent to be able to bring together cast members of such high calibre - such as George Henare - who has international standing.

"They came on board on the strength of the script, which is great recognition for the writers. And for the two young actors, it's a chance to work with some of New Zealand's best known talent."

George Henare's prestigious career includes roles in Once Were Warriors, Shortland Street, Xena, Mercy Peak and Street Legal, while Annie Whittle, also formerly of Shortland Street, recently starred with Hollywood legend Anthony Hopkins in the World's Fastest Indian.

Another former Shortland Streeter, Vanessa Rare is currently dishing out wisdom on Maori Television's panel advice show Ask Your Auntie. Geoff Dolan has had roles in Hercules, Power Rangers, Xena, Gloss and In My Father's Den. Talented television newcomers Tainui Tukiwaho (Tuhoe, Te Arawa) and Kura Forrester (Ngati Porou) complete the line-up.

Here's a taste of the KAI KORERO characters:

Pa Wiremu (George Henare): A veteran of World War II, Pa is head of the whanau and staunchly Maori. Dapper and devilishly handsome, he wears lots of Brylcreem and is a big fan of Winston Peters. He can't get over Charlotte not marrying a nice Maori boy but gets his own back by teasing Ken and Muriel mercilessly. Could he secretly have a wish to get his well-shined shoes under Muriel's posh bed?

Muriel Spalding (Annie Whittle): Posh and wealthy, Muriel tells lots of little white lies to keep up appearances. She pretends her daughter-in-law and grandchildren are Italian, and claims her husband was killed by cannibals in Papua New Guinea.

Charlotte Rata-Spalding (Vanessa Rare): As the glue that binds the whanau together, Maori-speaking Charlotte likes to be in control but sometimes she takes on more than she can handle. She's a great cook who loves having her family all together for Sunday dinner.

Ken Spalding (Geoff Dolan): A good man and loving husband, Ken is a fitness fanatic and is learning Maori. But he regrets letting Pa live with them and sometimes wishes his domineering father-in-law would hurry up and meet his maker.

Humphrey Spalding (Tainui Tukiwaho): Humphrey lives at home but still manages to be late for dinner. Buff and handsome, he is a talented league player and could play for the Warriors but is lacking in ambition.

Ma Spalding (Kura Forrester): Bright, ambitious and radically pro-Maori, Ma studies hard at university, flats with girlfriends - and wants to be the first Maori female Prime Minister of New Zealand. But how long can she keep her big secret from the whanau?

Join the Spalding and Rata families for dinner on KAI KORERO, premiering on Maori Television on Tuesday May 30 at 9.30 PM.


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