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Te Manawa Haka Theatre Public Performance

Media Release
13 June, 2014

Te Manawa Haka Theatre Public Performance
Wednesday 2 July at 7.30pm
Corban Estate Arts Centre – Henderson
Admission by Koha

As committed Kapa Haka practitioners, Kura Te Ua and Beez Ngarino Watt the Artistic Directors of Hawaiki Tu Company are part of an emerging school of artists who are forging a new style of theatre called Haka Theatre. The term “Haka Theatre” was first used over 100 years ago by Princess Te Puea Herangi but in its present manifestation it is an exciting new form that combines haka, dance, waiata and theatre.

The Hawaiki Tu Company under the direction of Kura Te Ua and Beez Ngarino Watt are developing their own style using what Te Ua terms “Maori Movement”.

In 2011 Te Ua and Watt performed in the Te Matatini Production of Arohanui – The Greatest Love, one of the first productions in this genre and Te Ua now teaches a Haka Theatre component on the Māori Performing Arts Course at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

In 2012 Hawaiki Tu presented their first Haka Theatre work The Cries from Down Under, about the relationship between tohora (whales), tipuna (ancestors) and humans at the Pacific Festival of the Arts in the Solomon Islands.

There is now a chance to see their most recent work Te Manawa at a public performance for one night only on Wednesday 2 July at Corban Estate Arts Centre in celebration of the upcoming Matariki, (Māori New Year, June 28). Already in its second season, following its debut during Matariki last year, Te Manawa has been seen by hundreds of school children and this year sold out almost immediately, with an extra show having to be added to cater to demand.

The story of Te Manawa, first developed by young writer Jason Wu together with Te Ua and Watt is inspired by the traditional legend of Ranginui (the Sky Father) and Papatuanuku, (the Earth Mother). Jay Williams, who is co-directing the show with Tarumai Kerehoma, says that it “reflects elements of Matariki such as navigation, cultivation and the celebration of new beginnings”, but it also tells the story of “Mauri: a girl’s journey through life and the lengths people will go to in terms of sacrifice, in order to achieve unity and find love”.

Following on from the season of Te Manawa, the Hawaiki Tu company will begin developing a new full-length Haka Dance Theatre work entitled Kurawaka with the assistance of Creative New Zealand.

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