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Wāhine Māori And va’ine Pasifika Writers’ Collective Premiere Audio Drama Series

Later this month wāhine Māori and va’ine Pasifika writers’ collective, Maranga Mai, will launch their new audio drama series. On Saturday the 26th of November the five part series will be released on Kia Mau’s digital platform Moana Nui, featuring fantastical new writing by Tina McNicholas, Sandra Tisam, Sherilee Kahui, Teherenui Koteka and Stevie Greeks. Each writer shares a story that navigates the journey through the complexities and challenges of life, from the perspective of friends, whānau and even furniture.

The audio series was initially written as part of the playwright festival, Breaking Ground, during the 2020 Lockdown. They were later recorded in April 2021 in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington, with a cast of over 20 established and emerging actors including, Tanea Heke, Tina Cook, Erina Daniels, Ani-Piki Tuari, Taylor-Rose Terekia, Tāne Rolfe, Emma Katene, Roy Iro, and Poe Tiare Ruhe-Tararo. Each work is a full audio production which involves storytelling, music, and soundscape to build a picture for the listeners and pull them into the world of each story as they listen.

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With the series being led by the skilful direction of celebrated senior Māori artist and theatremaker, and 2022 Arts Foundation NZ Arts Laureate Hone Kouka. Helping Kouka along the way in Assistant Direction is Tāne Rolfe and Stevie Greeks. Maranga Mai’s audio drama series has been engineered by Composer and Sounds Producer Karnan Saba.

Created by Tawata Productions, as part of the international Indigenous playwriting festival, Breaking Ground, the collective Maranga Mai was established to support the ongoing development of Māori and Pacific women who write. Based in the Wellington region, the writers involved are focused on refining and honing their craft - they are writers of poetry, short story, fiction and plays. Maranga Mai Collective was established in 2017, the collective was created to support mothers, community leaders, tertiary students and full-time workers, who at nights and on weekends, are also committed writers.

Maranga Mai features five works from within the collective, Whakaaraara by Sherilee Kahui, Te Maunga, Te Toa e Manakia by Teherenui Koteka, Grown by Stevie Greeks, Mira by Sandra Tisam and Unlocked by Tina McNicholas.

The Maranga Mai Collective has partnered with a small handful of Aotearoa’s leading creators as dramaturgs since 2017 including Arts Foundation NZ Arts Laureate Ahi Karunaharan, Ilbijerri Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Rachael Maza, Ockham Prize Award Winner Whiti Hereaka, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Eva Mullaley and Tawata Productions and Kia Mau Festival co-founder Mīria George.

The Maranga Mai audio series will be launching and available for streaming from Saturday November 26th as part of the digital theatre Moana Nui.

The stories in the Maranga Mai Collective audio series include:

Sandra Tisam, Mira
Mira and her friends lie forgotten in a tin shed, reliving past tragedies while getting on each other’s nerves. The return of a familiar face, brings them back together again to continue on their journey.
Playing Length: 19.53

Sherilee Kahui, Whakaaraara
Having a baby changes everything for a woman. Your body is no longer your own, your time is not your own and your priorities shift almost instantly. These changes inevitably ripple out to your relationships. Whakaaraara shows how gentle ripples can be the early warning signs of an incoming tsunami, as one new mum struggles to stay afloat.
Playing Length: 17:02

Stevie Greeks, Grown
Ruby returns to her childhood home after the death of her estranged mother. Her hikoi takes her to a place between memory, dream and the stories her heart yearns to tell.
Playing Length: 19:02

Teherenui Koteka, Te Maunga, Te Toa e Manakia
In a world estranged from indigenous values, an offer arises forcing two cousins to decide the fate of their ancestral home.
Playing Length: 17:48

Tina McNicholas, Unlocked
Lilieta, aka Lilly, is near the end of her full and extraordinary life. Her once strong, infallible, memory has now succumbed to bouts of dementia, causing her to periodically lose her bearings. One day a sudden encounter with an object from her past unexpectedly transports her back to happier times when she was transforming the lives of others in her care.
Playing Length: 26:40

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