This Matariki you will have the unique chance to experience two classics of Māori theatre, Kohanga and Whaea Kairau: Mother Hundred Eater. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet the playwright, Apirana Taylor, who will be present for both readings to share his thoughts and answer questions.
Kohanga, Saturday 9 July, 7.30pm
Kohanga was first produced by the pioneering Māori theatre company Te Ohu Whakaari in 1986 and was a huge success. The play examines the growth of the Kohanga Reo movement in the eighties from the perspective of a mixed race couple trying to decide what would be best for their child.
Apirana Taylor was inspired to write the play while on tour with Te Ohu Whakaari when a whānau he was billeted to was faced with a similar dilemma.
Whaea Kairau, Sunday 10 July, 7.30pm
Whaea Kairau: Mother Hundred Eater is a seminal Maori theatre work. Produced by Taki Rua in 1995 many critics drew parallels between the play and Brecht’s Mother Courage.
The play is set in the late 1840s New Zealand amid growing turbulence and racial tensions. The epic story follows a dispossessed Irish woman and her children whose livelihood is dependent on the slaughter of war.
About the playwright
Apirana Taylor (Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngati Porou, Taranaki) is a poet, playwright, painter, novelist, actor, short story writer and musician. Apirana was cast in Porgy and Bess which starred the likes of Inia Te Wiata and Don Selwyn as a child. Apirana was lucky enough to be surrounded by writers like Patricia Grace, Witi Ihimaera, Keri Hulme, Bub Bridger, Bruce Stewart and Rowley Habib, who would meet up and read their work at a marae where Apirana was working. His brother Rangimoana Taylor was the second Māori to graduate from the NZ Drama School. Both his sisters are playwrights and one, Riwia Brown, was the screenwriter responsible for Once Were Warriors.
Theatre of Auckland tell stories that capture the unique experience of Māori, delivering them in a way that engages audiences.