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Kia Mau Festival 2018

Press Release – Kia Mau Festival

Kia Mau Festival 2018 M a ori + Pasifika | Theatre + Dance 1-16 June 2018 – WELLINGTON Whanagrei teens set their sites on performing in Poneke.Kia Mau Festival 2018
Maori + Pasifika | Theatre + Dance
1-16 June 2018 – WELLINGTON

Whanagrei teens set their sites on performing in Poneke.

Opening the Kia Mau Festival we are proud to present emerging company Wahine Works and their acclaimed production of Waiora: Te-u-kai-po (The Homeland)by Hone Kouka, 1-9 June at Hannah Playhouse.

Wahine Works is a Northland theatre company formed by young Maori women, that intends to provide pathways into theatre for young local women and men. Their kaupapa is to provide opportunities for young women, provide affordable theatre to the local community and present works that ‘entertains, educates, challenges and inspires.’

“Wahine Works powerful production of Waiora opens Kia Mau Festival 2018, as it encompasses the kaupapa of this years festival: youth, wahine, emerging artists and strong social issues,” says Kia Mau Festival Artistic Director, Hone Kouka.

This smash success production of Waiora started as an NCEA performance at Whangarei Girls High School (with special guests from Whangarei Boys High School) – and grew into a two sell-out and rave reviews event that propelled the young cast into the spotlight – with nationwide media interviews, an audience of prominent politicians and an invitation to headline the 2018 Kia Mau Festival.

Waiora – The Homeland performed by Whangarei Girls High Yr 13 was outstanding! Pleasure to have been at the opening night. Nga mihi Bill and all the actors, set and costume design, lighting and sound.” – Hon. Kelvin Davis, MP for Te Tai Tokerau

This talented team of 12 ambitious teens (ages ranging 16-18) are thrilled to take advantage of the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ to travel to Wellington and stage the opening act of the Festival as it presents an opportunity to showcase themselves in their preferred career path of Drama and Creative Arts.

The play resonated with Wahine Works and their drama teacher Bill Walker as story about youth suicide and mental health – giving them a strong platform to address this community issue that deeply affects the Far North.

Director Bill Walker says, “The Kia Mau season will become the fourth version of this production. The original was double cast to cater for all the students in the class. When it came to the return season my understanding of the pay was much deeper, as it was for the cast, so we made some major changes, particularly with the tipuna. Now, with the cast, a whole year older than when they first did it, a change of stage and three new tipuna, we are approaching rehearsals with a fresh eye and vigor.”

“That’s the thing about this play: it has so much to offer actors. I have been lucky enough to work in theatre almost my entire working life and I have never come across a play with a climax as emotionally charged and powerful as Hone Kouka’s climax to Waiora. Only in New Zealand and only by a Maori playwright could such could such a play exist.”

Wahine Works spokesperson, Zahra Cherrington, says, “This is the most incredible opportunity for all of us involved. We will not only be a main act, performing on a premiere Wellington stage during a huge event, we will be mixing with the country’s biggest names in Maori theatre, dance, film and television. More importantly to us, however, is that we will be able to add the powerful voice of this play to the national discussions on mental health care, youth suicide and the place of Maori tikanga in modern Aotearoa in the city that is at the heart of political power. We are young, intelligent wahine from Tai Tokerau and we’re on our way to Wellie!”

Set in 1965, Waiora: Te-U-Kai-Po (The Homeland) is Hone Kouka’s vivid depiction of Maori moving from their homelands to the cities of a different people, exploring differing interpretations of home and belonging.

Wahine Works presents
1-9 JUNE, Wed – Sat 7.30PM, Sun 3 & Tue 5 JUNE 6.30PM
Hannah Playhouse /
Featuring: Leihana Shelford-Tito, Phoenix Karatiana, Zahra Cherrington-Irving, Kasey Harder, Ngarimu Wyatt, Tracey King, Hana Gilbert, Kayah Thompson, Mollie Jacobson, Meg Robinson, Jerome Tamihana Northcroft, Jurney Blair
This motivated ropu are fundraising via Give-a-Little to get their company of 12 to Wellington
Waiora Video Trailer: ideo.%20WW..avi?dl=0
Waiora on Maori TV: sion-on-suicide
We invite you to journey with us. This is Kia Mau. In te reo Maori, kia mau is a call to hold fast. Kia Mau is about us all. Here. Now. Join us.
The contemporary Indigenous theatre and dance experience, Kia Mau Festival returns to Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui – Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.
In 2018, we are hosting Maori, Pasifika + First Nations artists and their companies, sharing work across the region from Porirua City to Wellington City to Lower Hutt City.
Now marking its fourth year, Kia Mau Festival is a creative celebration, helmed by Maori + Pasifika artists and built upon kaupapa Maori. Kia Mau Festival is an innovative experience for whanau, anau and communities throughout the Wellington region to engage with Tangata Whenua and First Nations artists from across te ao marama.

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