Mangere Arts Centre, Auckland

26/09/2012 - 29/09/2012

Production Details

“I am my brother’s keeper”  

From the writer of “Kingdom of Lote”, New Zealand’s first full lengths Tongan play; Suli Moa presents his second play “A Hearts Path”. This contemporary Tongan tale, takes you on a journey through the obstacles of urbanisation and akonaki (life lessons).

This Tongan and English dialogue Theatre Show takes the stage September 26 – 29, featuring an all Tongan cast. It’s presented by Tales from the Kava Bowl, Suli Moa’s wife Natalie Malietoa-Moa’s newly formed Production Company.

A Heart’s Path is a tale of reality, where we as people have a choice to value the importance of its akonaki (life lessons). The paths of the three siblings Mafu, Mele and Kepu, each tell a separate tale of which young and old can draw their own conclusions, right or wrong.

With the loss of their Fa’e (Mother) the Hala siblings face the challenge of finding a balance of surviving in the Modern society of Aotearoa, without forgetting their Tongan culture and Traditions.

What makes this tale unique is that the audience is told through a Tongan perspective, which is relatively new (Tongan Theatre).

A Heart’s Path is community targeted play where Suli Moa’s aim is to create awareness through the form of Theatre, for the Pacific and wider Communities both young and old.

This new piece of gripping contemporary Pacific theatre, presents a heartfelt tale that will leave the audience speechless.


Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku,
Corner Orly Avenue & Bader Drive, Mangere

Show Times:

Wednesday 26 September
11:00am matinee / 8:00pm evening show

Thursday 27 September
11:00am matinee / 6:30pm evening show

Friday 28 September
11:00am matinee / 8:00pm evening show


$15 Adults and Tertiary Students
$10 School kids / students (18 and under)

Evening Shows
$20 Adults (ages 19+)
$15 Tertiary students
$10 School kids / students (18 and under)
Group 7+ $15pp


Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku
Phone: 09 262 5789

Email: managerartscentre@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz  


Michael Koloi, Nastassia Wolfgramm, Albert Mateni and Suli Moa

Assistant Director : Matariki Whatarau

Straight from the Heart

Review by Sharu Delilkan 27th Sep 2012

A Heart’s Path, written by Suli Moa, is the young playwright’s second Tongan play in less than two years. 

I’m glad to see that talents like Moa are not a flash in the pan. I have to say congratulations bro for consistently making new works – may this be a sign of more to come.

The theatre was packed with people shortly after the 8 pm start time and you could feel the anticipation. What happened next would only happen in South Auckland – which is why I love coming to Mangere Arts Centre. One of the venue’s staff members Chris Molloy stood in front of the crowd on stage and bellowed “If there’s a seat next to you where you are please squash in because there are more people coming”. Needless to say when the show started the theatre was bursting at the seams. [More]


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Unique perspective made familiar by innate humanity

Review by Nik Smythe 26th Sep 2012

This powerful second work from local breakthrough playwright Suli Moa is distinctively Tongan in tone and content, intensely human in essence.  Just before it begins, the opening-matinee audience and cast are blessed by a visiting school-group’s beautifully intoned and harmonised impromptu hymn sung from their seats.

Michael Koloi plays angry, confused Mafu, the eldest of the three siblings about whom the story unfolds.  Having fallen in with local gang the Hands of Death at a young age, he’s been sent down for his first serious lag for armed robbery, while his younger brother and sister were still just children.

While in prison, a letter from his mother is heard as a pink-lit dancing woman (uncredited) performs graceful hand-led moves, evoking the calm spirit with which she delivers news of their family and her more personal thoughts.  As he listens with brooding intent, Mafu improvises a punching bag from the sparse contents of his lonely cell and contemplates the future.

The future arrives, but any celebratory joy he may have hoped to feel is tempered by a number of circumstances, not the least being that his date of release is the same day of his mother’s funeral.  Further to this, his younger sister Mele (Nastassia Wolfgramm) is bitterly cynical about his claim that he is a changed man, his life of crime and abuse behind him. 

Having quit the gang that led him to that world in the first place, it seems the only one in town with any respect left for him is his and Mele’s cheeky, unmotivated youngest brother Kepu (Albert Mateni).  

Then there’s coming to terms with the fact that the son of Mafu’s former master, the leader Hands of Death, has been his sister’s devoted boyfriend for the last three years.  Likeably sensitive and determined to make a go of it himself, Sam (played by playwright Moa) has plans to join the police force and ultimately marry Mele, once she’s earned the doctorate she is studying for. 

Their relationships show the strain and decisive pain brought about by a life spent with (and/or without) a family broken apart by their parents’ deaths and Mafu’s mistakes.  Mafu himself is intelligent enough to accept the inevitable difficulty in convincing anyone who knows him that he is now a man who can be trusted, while struggling with his own anger and ability to trust anyone he’s crossed paths with before, particularly Sam.

The efficiently functional set (also uncredited) consists of four vertical corrugated-iron screens that pivot on castors to reveal the various scene locations – Mafu’s cell, Mele’s kitchen, etc – without upsetting the pace of the action.

Director Kate-Louise Elliott brings Moa’s script to life with generous heart, driven by naturalistic performances and underpinned by judicious stylisation.  Sometimes aggressive, often confrontational, the words and ideologies of the characters may sometimes sound a bit clichéd, but there’s no denying the emotional impact during key scenes of conflict and moments of resolution.

In Tales from the Kava Bowl’s own words: what makes this tale unique is that the audience is told through a Tongan perspective, which is relatively new (Tongan Theatre).  A significant portion of the dialogue is in Tongan, which I cannot literally understand but the intent is generally clear, and there’s no confusion about where each character stands.

Thereby, as a cultural ‘visitor’, I felt just a little bit alien but ultimately privileged to behold such powerful work.  As I said at the start, the unique point of view of a people who came from what Kepu declares with ironic pride to be “the most corrupt island” is made familiar by its innate humanity. 


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