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Hoki Mai Tama Mā: Groundbreaking Theatre Artform

Hoki Mai Tama Mā: Groundbreaking Theatre Artform


An innovative ‘Māori Mask’ art form, called “Matarua”, is set to be unveiled during Matariki with Te Rēhia Theatre’s original revolutionary production, Hoki Mai Tama Mā.

This new medium, which will be a first in theatre, explores the interface of Modern Māori Theatre, traditional mahi whakaari such as Kapa Haka and the historic art form of Commedia dell’Arte (Italian comedy).

The ethos of Hoki Mai Tama Mā is in keeping with new Māori theatre company Te Rēhia Theatre’s philosophy to create trailblazing and pioneering Māori storytelling in theatre.

Playwright Tainui Tukiwaho (Billy) says: “ I chose to use WWII as the setting for Hoki Mai Tama Mā, as it’s the most famous meeting of the Māori and Italian worlds through the Māori Battalion. It’s also been a great platform to explore and merge the Italian classic form of Commedia dell’Arte with Te Ao Māori (The Māori world).

Directed by Gerald Urquhart (Shortland St), Hoki mai Tama Mā moves between the day of the Matariki New Year celebrations in modern day rural Aotearoa and WWII Italy following Tama (Rawiri Jobe, Step Dave) who has just returned from Italy with his Koro/grandfather (Regan Taylor, Te Awarua). Armed with Koro’s diary from the war and the earthy logic of their best friend and neighbour Nuku (Taylor), long held secrets are revealed and we learn the true meaning of forgiveness and whanau.

Other cast members include Amber Curreen (Shortland St, Korero mai) playing Bella/Morehu and Ascia Maybury who plays Patricia/Puhi (Step Dave, The Almighty Johnsons).

Company Director and actor Taylor, who came up with the concept of Matarua, says: “We’re really excited about discovering and refining this new theatre artform. The majority of the mask-work including the way the masks look, feel and what they represent will evolve during the rehearsal process, hence why we are currently work-shopping with the blank moulds.”

Hoki Mai Tama Mā also marks Tukiwaho’s debut writing a full-length play.

Te Rēhia Theatre presents Hoki Mai Tama Mā plays at Mangere Arts Centre, Bader Drive, Mangere, 3 – 5 July, 7.30 pm.

Te Rēhia Theatre presents Hoki Mai Tama Mā in association with THE EDGE, plays at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, 9 – 12 July, 7.30 pm. Tickets: Ticketmaster, ph 09 970 9700 or go to

Publicist: Sharu Loves Hats e-mail: tel: 021 652 175


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