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Capital E National Arts Festival
Te Rau O Te Rangi
Writer: Teina Moetara
Director: Ngapaki Moetara
Taki Rua Productionís 2012 Te Reo Māori Season

at Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Marae, Cable Street, Wellington
From 11 Mar 2013 to 16 Mar 2013

Reviewed by Moana Ete, 11 Mar 2013

It's an important thing, I feel, to be powhiri'd onto a theatre space. I so often tumble into a show as if by moving train – I forget to look forward to what I'm about to see. To wait at the entrance with 150 or so children to be welcomed onto the Marae is an opportunity for me to prepare myself physically and spiritually for what I am about to experience.

All-encompassing Amanda Knoblett, our designated Kaikaranga and show narrator, meets us at the entrance. She coos us into the world of Te Rau o te Rangi with lyrical tones, leading us toward Rongomaraeroa, Te Papa's Iconic Marae. Yonder is mighty Puriri Koria, performing a taiaha set. 

We arrive at the Marae where the powhiri continues. Raiha Moetara's uplifting karanga matches Rongomaraeroa's glory note for note. With the closing of the powhiri comes the opening of this show. We are underway with beautiful waiata* created by this trusty trio.

The story of Kahe Te Rau O te Rangi is a told through a balance of traditional Maori forms (Waiata-a-ringa, Moteatea and Haka**) and traditional theatre conventions (transformation, puppetry, dance).

I am most impressed with our fresh-faced performers captivating me along with its young audience. Puriri's youthful energy is palpable. He is an acutely focused performer. Whether it is thrashing his taiaha with a pin-sharp precision, or handling the baby puppet with such tenderness, this youngster's performative sensibilities exceed his fourteen years. He is a must-see of this festival.

Amanda's natural charm and cheek translates so beautifully onto stage. She morphs easily into different characters; I see her truly indulge in each one, making her a joy to watch. Amanda is the perfect tuakana for young Raiha who seems to have a lifetime of performing both behind and ahead of her. Strongly rooted in Kapa Haka, this girl's vocal prowess resonates deep in the soul. 

A self-confessed novice at the Maori language, most of the particulars of the story was lost on me. There was a mother, there was a child and there was swimming. And that's the extent of my understanding if I'm honest with myself. But this does not take away from the essence of this story.

The love, the hardship, the journey.

**action song, ancient chant and war dance  
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