It’s 1962 and Te Puhi Johnson has just been crowned Miss New Zealand, the first Māori wahine to receive the prestigious title. The reluctant beauty queen only entered the pageant after being convinced by her sister, to help raise money for her whānau’s kapa haka group.
Five years on, Te Puhi is living in London, a successful singer on the hip West End. An urgent letter arrives from home prompting a hasty return to Rotorua, where Te Puhi and her whānau must deal with the fallout from her long absence.
The inspiring coming of age story by Cian Elyse Waitī is an homage to the first Māori beauty queens, Maureen Kingi, Moana Whaanga (Nee Manley) and Cian’s own aunty Keita White, who used their unique platform to promote Māori in a positive light.
Emerging playwright, Waitī, currently stars in hit TV show 800 Words. The celebrated cast includes Roimata Fox (The Ring Inz, The Pā Boys), Eds Eramiha (Mahana) and Taupunakohe Tocker (Pūkana, I AM TV) as Te Puhi. This world premiere is directed by Te Kohe Tuhaka.
“Te Puhi explores themes around what it is to be successful, from a Māori perspective, and today (with people being so stretched that the concept of whānau is being left behind) it feels more universally relevant than ever.’’- Briar Grace Smith.
"Thoroughly enjoyed opening night at The Mangere Arts Centre. Very emotional journey. I laughed and cried and sang and danced in my seat. Absolutely loved it all." - Nola Boldy
Finalist - Best Play, 2016 Playmarket Adam Awards.
Read more about what inspired Cian Elyse Waitī to write Te Puhi here.
Cast and crew
Te Kohe Tūhaka - Ngāti Porou
Cian Elyse Waitī - Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa
Eds Eramiha – Ngā puhi
Roimata Fox - Ngāti Porou
Taupunakohe Tocker - Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Tainui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Maniapoto & Ngāti Raukawa
Antonio Te Maioha - Ngāpuhi & Tainui
Te Puhi is part of Matariki 2017.
WAITĪ Productions would like to acknowledge the support of: