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Powerhouse Wāhine Light Up The Auckland Stage For Matariki

Cian Parker performs Sorry For Your Loss. Photo Credit: Kelsey Scott

This Matariki, two inspiring and very different solo performances come together for a double bill that showcases wāhine Māori artists from opposite ends of Aotearoa.

Playwright Fran Kewene (Waikato/Tainui) and performer Julie Edwards (Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Whare) are traveling up from Ōtepoti Dunedin to present their acclaimed verbatim play Barrier Ninja. Verbatim theatre, or documentary theatre, is a style which has been embraced by Auckland audiences with the recent sell-out season of Auckland Theatre Company’s The Haka Party Incident. For Barrier Ninja, Kewene conducted numerous interviews with health practitioners and patients to explore the challenges they experience with Hauora and the current health system. All these voices were distilled and seamlessly weaved into an extraordinary portrait, performed by Julie Edwards, of our health system as seen from a Māori perspective.

Fran Kewene is a senior Māori practitioner, well respected for her work in the fields of Māori health in medical education, disability, and the performing arts. Having graduated from Toi Whakaari in 1991, Fran is currently the unit director and an Associate Professor within the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at Otago University. Adopted into the Hauora Māori curriculum at the Dunedin School of Medicine, Barrier Ninja was seen by over 1000 medical students. The work has never been publicly performed in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Written and performed by Cian Parker (Ngāpuhi), with live music by Andy Duggan, Sorry For Your Loss is the autobiographical story of a young woman who is unexpectedly introduced to a father and family she never knew she had. Suddenly forced to navigate the opinions of her mother, her elderly neighbour, and her classmates, she must eventually reclaim her whakapapa. Sorry For Your Loss is a show about growing up on the mean streets of Kirikiriroa Hamilton in the ‘90s, and is a heartfelt, hilarious, and utterly charming tribute to the power of wāhine toa. Director, dramaturg and Waikato University Theatre Studies and Dance professor, Dr. Laura Haughey, also brings her unique physical approach to the storytelling in this original, devised piece of work.

Cian Parker was recently the recipient of The Arts Foundation’s inaugural Springboard Award, recognising artists at a formative stage in their career. Along with the recognition the award also comes with professional mentoring from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Briar Grace Smith (Cousins) In 2019, Parker was also the recipient of the 2019 Creative New Zealand Ngā Manu Pīrere Award.


Barrier Ninja

Sorry For Your Loss

Barrier Ninja and Sorry For Your Loss are an Auckland Live Matariki Festival Double Bill. Book them both at the Box Office or over the phone for $40*, saving you $20! *service fees apply

Please note: Barrier Ninja is not recommended for children under the age of 3. Children aged 14 and under must be accompanied by a caregiver who attends the event with the child.

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