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The Return Of A New Zealand Masterpiece

Taki Rua Productions Proudly Presents*

The Return Of A New Zealand Masterpiece* *Nga Tangata Toa (The Warrior People)* By Hone Kouka**

"...Kouka has written a brooding, intense and complex epic tragedy that is both enormously challenging and satisfying..." *The Evening Post*

In October, 2006, Taki Rua Productions will proudly premiere the multi-award winning play *Nga Tangata Toa* (The Warrior People), by leading New Zealand writer, Hone Kouka, (Ngati Porou, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Kahungunu), at Downstage Theatre, Wellington, for a Strictly Limited Season.

The East Coast, 1919, a whanau gather to celebrate the return of a warrior brother, the war hero Taneatua. Instead of celebrations, secrets are revealed, guilt, family honour, unfulfilled longings, secrets they would prefer to keep hidden. The celebrations also signal the return of the fierce Rongomai, te wahine toa, to reveal all and finally seek her revenge.

"...elemental passions and dark tragic action of lust, murder, love and long-simmering desire for utu unfolds..." *The Dominion*

Leading writer, Hone Kouka, winner of the Bruce Mason Award and multiple Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, has had plays produced in South Africa, Britain, Hawaii, Canada, Australia, New Caledonia, as well as throughout New Zealand, with two plays being translated into French and Russian. Kouka has published five books, with his first novel due for release in the next year. While *Nga Tangata Toa* premieres at Downstage Theatre, Wellington, *The Prophet*, will premiere simultaneously in Hawaii. Kouka founded theatre production house Tawata Productions, producing the works of emerging Maori playwrights, including the controversial *and what remains*. He also works as Development Executive at the New Zealand Film Commission.

Taki Rua Productions, helmed by Artistic Director James Ashcroft and Executive Director Chris Miller, return the Masterpiece to the stage, their first major stage production since taking the reins of one of New Zealand's most prestigious theatre production companies. A multi-award winning company, previous works include *Purapurawhetu* by Briar Grace-Smith, *Woman Far Walking* by Witi Ihimaera, *Strata* by Kirk Torrance, *Awhi Tapu* by Albert Belz, and Kouka's most recent work *The Prophet*.

Actor Calvin Tuteao (*Shortland Street*'s Dr. Victor Kahu, *Jackson's Wharf, Once Were Warriors, Crooked Earth*), debuts on the Wellington stage, joining a powerful young cast of actors including Rob Mokaraka, (*King and Country, Tama Tu*) who will also feature in *Strange Resting Places*, an up-coming play by Taki Rua Productions, written by Mokaraka and actor Paolo Rotondo. *Nga Tangata Toa* also features the talented Erina Daniels, (*and what remains, Yours Truly, Insider's Guide to Love*) and Olivia Robinson, (*Nga Pou Wahine, Maui*). Miranda Minasiadis (*Drawer of Knives*), who has recently returned from performance study in Los Angeles, as well as actor/playwright/screenwriter Matt Saville (*Baghdad** Baby, Kikia Te Poa*) also appear in *Nga Tangata Toa*.

*Nga Tangata Toa* boasts an award-winning crew, with direction by James Beaumont (*Black Halo*), set design by Tracey Monastra (*Strata*), lighting design Martyn Roberts (*Afterburner*) and sound design by Stephen Gallagher (*Insider's Guide to Happiness*).

The Masterpiece *Nga Tangata Toa* premieres Wednesday, October 18, 2006, until Saturday, November 4, 2006, at Downstage Theatre, Wellington. Tickets $15-$28.

For interviews and further information, please do not hesitate to contact publicist Miria George, 027 210 5552, email, Taki Rua Productions, Wellington.


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