Te Auaha, Tapere Nui, 65 Dixon Street, Te Aro, Wellington

21/02/2024 - 24/02/2024

NZ Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Creators & Directors: Parekawa Finlay & Raureti Ormond

Te Auaha

Two brand new Te Ao Māori driven works from two emerging Tūwharetoa artists Parekawa Finlay & Raureti Ormond. From the life of an 1860’s coloniser through to the Tangiwai Disaster, come and experience the freshest talent from Te Whanganui-a-Tara and reflect upon the nature of simply being human and the complexities of being Māori.

An investigation of both real life events in Aotearoa and the internal colonisation of her mind. Parekawa unravels her personal journey of creating a solo work based on the life of a soldier, artist and coloniser from the 1860s. Through writing this show, she is unlearning, unmasking and freeing her mind. Horatio Robley 1864 vs Parekawa Finlay 2024!

Te Whio, the whistle, is a story of home that exhumes the untold stories of the Tangiwai Disaster. Stories of homesickness, whānau and what it means to live a life. Set on Christmas Eve 1953, a group of passengers board the Express train traveling from Te-Whanganui-A-Tara to Tāmaki Makaurau. With the tragic collapse of a railway bridge, their lives are taken in a flash. If you never got to reach your family, what would you want to say?

Content forecast: Flashing Lights, Stage Smoke, Mild Coarse Language, Death

Te Auaha (Tapere Nui)
21-24 February 2024
7.30pm shows
4.30pm matinee 24 Feb
Full Price $20
Concession $15
Fringe Addict $16
Ticket + 5 $25
Ticket + 10 $30
Book tickets here: https://fringe.co.nz/show/hpaitia or Fringe Box Office

Parekawa Finlay
Raureti Ormond
Maxine Kemp
Maya Gatling
Mila Te Whare-Manson
RV Quijano
Maddison Barnes
Emily Holden
Monet Wiljo Faifai-Collins
Abby Roff

Creatives and crew:
Creators & Directors: Parekawa Finlay & Raureti Ormond
Lighting Design & Operator: Ezra Jones-Moki
Technician & Sound Operator: Michael Trigg
Stage Manager: Huia Max
Graphic Design: Elijah Monu
Production Manager: Lauren Fergusson

Theatre , Multi-discipline , Musical , Solo , Spoken word , Te Reo Māori ,

50 minutes

Two tragedies challenged and questioned with panache and love

Review by Mitchell Manuel 24th Feb 2024

New Zealand Fringe Festival never ceases to amaze and enthral me as an organization that brings out the best of Aotearoa. In this case, the double-billing of Hāpaitia, a Te Ao Māori oeuvre, and Te Whio (The Whistle), invites us to be part of a theatrical experience that challenges and questions identity.

The whakataukī from the Hāpaitia promotion – Tukua mai he kapunga oneone ki ahau hei tangi māku: Send me a handful of soil so that I may weep over it – is just as much a warning as it is about the need to adapt and have the resilience to persevere with knowledge and values that overcome. Most important is the Māori connection to land, the earth mother, Papatūanuku.

The packed audience in Tapere Nui at Te Auaha NZ Institute of Creativity witnesses, within a bleak landscape of shadows, sifted dirt drifting from above over a parched looking suitcase, symbolising a personal journey under the weight of grief in the wake of progress, development and confrontation.

As Te Kaīkohi (The Collector), writer, director and spirited thespian Parekawa Finlay reveals the complex life of soldier, artist and colonizer during the 1860s, Horatio Robly (1840 – 1930): an ethnologist with a zest for collecting tatau mokomokai (preserved Māori heads). The infamous picture of him with thirty four mokomokai leaves me dumbfounded by his hubris. We are reminded of the history of countless men with large rifles pictured with trophies of dead lions, elephants and any wildlife unlucky to be in their sights, and mokomokai isn’t any different. The horrible, tragic, tear-inducing image is shocking – and that’s the point. Alas, this still happens today.

Parekawa leads the evening with dignity, grace and charm. As raw as she is, she exposed and weaves her umbrage, disappointment, doubts, hostility to become de-colonised and emancipate herself from mental slavery.

Raureti Ormond (Parekawa’s real-life Tūwharetoa cousin) introduces Te Whio, a lament over Aotearoa’s Tangiwai disaster which made headlines around the world. It’s 1953, Christmas Eve. A group of passengers board the train from Wellington to Auckland …

We know from history that lives were taken without warning, carriages were wrecked, Christmas presents crumpled … And if you had the chance what would you do and what would you express? Heartfelt wishes, songs, tributes …

I am so carried away by the music: all of the Te Whio ensemble are impressive. I am especially moved when Maxine Kemp’s emotional tribute, almost like a hymn, reverberates around the auditorium. What an amazing singer. Strong vocals continue throughout. Worthy mentions: Maya Gatling, RV Quijano and Monet Wiljo Faifai-Collins, and Mila Te-Whare Manson, Maddison Barnes, Emily Holden and Abby Roff.

I personally would have preferred the musicians, MacKenzie Htay and Kate Marshall-Crowe, to be on the stage because they are brilliant too. Special mentions to Huia Max (Stage manager), Ezra Jones-Moki (lighting) and Elija Monu (Graphics).

This production is a must see. An abundant group of talented singers and performers, choreographed with panache and love. Don’t miss it [last chance tonight].


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