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Turblent time in NZ's history retold through dance

Turblent time in NZ's history retold through dance

Atamira Dance Company

Te Houhi is inspired by the astonishing events from the tribal history of choreographer Maaka Pepene. A turbulent time in New Zealand's history will be retold and the empowering story will chill, captivate and inspire audiences from September 21 at Q Theatre.

Atamira Dance Company is thrilled to bring their first full length dance work in three years to life at Q Theatre. Te Houhi explores the hope and unity of people who are affected by injustices common to Maori during colonisation.

The work is based around the historical event that saw 14,000 acres of prime land fraudulently acquired by two Pakeha in the late 1800s, which resulted in the eviction of the local people. Te Houhi will also explore the Ringatu faith and thus Te Kooti, the Maori prophet.

Deep in the misty Urewera ranges Te Kooti, Maori prophet and freedom fighter finds refuge from government pursuit in the Tuhoe people. Labeled rebels for harboring Te Kooti, land confiscation, Scorched Earth military tactics, and war ensue leaving Tuhoe land and people tragically ravaged and dispossessed.

When evicted from their land in the 1800s the Tuhoe people were prevented from taking their Wharenui, it was inlaid with early Maori figurative art, and central to the Ringatu faith which was precious to the hearts of the people. The Wharenui was turned into a school house and shearing shed.

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In 1908 the government intervened and agreed to return the Wharenui to its rightful owners. The government offered to pay for the transportation of the Whare from Te Houhi to Waiohou, however the people declined and in a poignant act symbolising the spirit and political defiance characteristic of Ngai Tuhoe, they carried their sacred building several miles by hand to a new settlement, reclaiming with it their faith in each other, their land, and Te Kooti.

Maaka Pepene, ex NZ Army soldier and of Tuhoe descent, will bring this poignant story to life, with audio visuals by Louise Potiki Bryant (Tuia award winner), music score by Paddy Free( Pitch Black) & lighting design by Vanda Karolczak. Te Houhi will capture the spirit of the Urewera mountains where lightening comes to play, Taniwha roam, and waterfalls speak.

This star studded design team will be joined by international sound collaborator Stephen Hussey(Urban Soul Orchestra, UK), renowned set designer John Verryt and costume designer Marama Tracy-Lloyd. An incredible team of dancers Taiaroa Royal, Taane Mete, Jack Gray, Kelly Nash, Jason Moore and Justine Hohaia with choreographic mentor Michael Parmenter.

This new dance work will also reference more recent contemporary issues surrounding the Tuhoe people and their particular relationship to the crown and the CNI land agreement involving Tuhoe and other central north island iwi.

During the Rugby World Cup and as part of the REAL NZ Festival Te Houhi headlines The Q Season of Maori Dance and Theatre, alongside Tawata Productions and Taki Rua Theatre.

Check out the YouTube link here:
Download an image of Te Houhi here:
21-25 September

305 Queen Street (Beside the Town Hall)
Book at or phone bookings on 09 309 9771
Tickets $25 - $35 (transaction fee will apply)


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