HE KURA KŌRERO The Gift of Speech

Circa Two, Circa Theatre, 1 Taranaki St, Waterfront, Wellington

01/10/2019 - 12/10/2019

Production Details

“Ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere, ko te reo kia Māori!”

He Kura Kōrero encourages young people to be bold and brave in using Te Reo Māori in everyday life, whether they know a little or a lot.

Join Kaiarahi as they find their voice and the courage to speak Te Reo Māori. Be a part of their exciting journey and delve into magical worlds through language.

He Kura Kōrero explores Te Reo Māori through live music, comedy, Kapa haka, song, and story telling.

Circa Two, Wellington
1 – 12 October 2019 (October School Holidays)
Tues – Sat
10am & 11.30am
$10 – $15

Cast: Cassandra Tse, Jonathan Morgan, Trubie-Dylan Smith

Set designed and created by The Court Theatre
Production: Jennifer Lal
Backing tracks by Isaac Thomas
Publicity images by Tabitha Arthur with design by William Duignan

Theatre , Te Reo Māori , Family , Children’s ,

1 hr

Interesting, funny and positive

Review by Tava Leota (aged 9) 02nd Oct 2019

This Play is very interesting as well as funny. All the characters have a hilarious personality which definitely suits all ages. This show encourages more people to speak Māori in daily life by interacting with the audience and singing songs as well as telling stories of Māori myths and history.

He Kura Kōrero has very detailed props. I especially love the main light. When they tell a story the light changes to suit the story or song. They are like a kid’s TV show and I like how funny and positive the play is.

Do not read Any Further If you Haven’t seen It! >L

This story is about how they discover treasures and how they look after them. When they are in the middle of trying to find a treasure, out of nowhere an egg suddenly appears. One of the characters tries to hide it so it will disappear, just like it appeared. Then they continue to find the right treasure. Then the egg appears again. They make a nest for it using the treasures that they found earlier. <Later>

We discover that the Egg likes being talked to and is involved in the story and most of the children at the show loved the Māui Story as it hatches! They found it was a Moa!

Overall I think that He Kura Kōrero is very well performed and written. I think more people should see it.

Rating:  4.8/5  Amazing

“Awesome, Ka Mau te wehi
Increíble, 驚くばかり, 真棒, Потрясающи  
I liked the play, it was very funny and interesting.” – Tava Leota

“I liked when the Moa Hatched. It was super exciting” – Blake Leota

“My favourite thing was when they found the egg.” – Willow McCaskill 


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Flair, fun and focus

Review by John Smythe 01st Oct 2019

It’s all about discovery. First the actors – Jonathan Morgan, Cassandra Tse and Trubie-Dylan Smith – discover the audience, and vice versa. Then, in their ‘best ever!’ all about ‘awesome!’ tones, they talk about the treasures they’ve discovered from all over the world and sing a song about treasure. They want to discover the perfect treasure to share.  

From an array of different-sized wooden crates they extract all sorts of things, some commonplace, others relatively exotic – and thus the play begins to covertly blend imagination with history. A scrap of something that looks like rubbish could be anything! A crown is King Athur’s, a boxing glove is Muhammad Ali’s, a tin contains Dad’s Best Dance Moves, a keyboard is the one Mark Zuckerberg used to create Facebook, a conch shell holds secrets … (The bookshelves in Debbie Fish’s set for Peggy Picket See the Face of God become a handy repository for their discoveries.)

Suddenly they discover an Egg they’ve never seen before. Appeals to the audience to suggest where it’s come from are highly productive – but, not wanting to be distracted, they stow it away and go on to discover such things as Dame Whina Cooper’s head scarf, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa’s favourite shawl … etc.

Snippets of action are provoked by some of the items – and I have to say I’m surprised and rather disturbed by the choice to single out Willie Apiata VC’s army beret for a more extensive ‘fun’ re-enactment of his heroic mate-saving deeds in Afghanistan: problematic on more than one level, I feel.

I suppose the idea is to contrast a ‘true hero’ with the trickster wannabe hero Maui-tiki-tiki-a-Taranga, whose korowai becomes the ‘perfect treasure’. It launches a lively retelling of how he extinguishes all the fires in the kāinga, gets Mahuika the Goddess of Fire to give him all ten of her fingernails of fire and, on a cheeky whim, extinguishes them too – but saves the day and his reputation with two sticks and the power to make fire forever.

The play’s other trickster character is the mysterious Egg which keeps turning up at inconvenient moments … I’m not going to reveal how that storyline evolves, you’ll have to discover that for yourselves, but it leads to a lovely revelation and a beautifully sung final song. And at this performance a group of wāhine honour the production with a heart-felt haka.  

Seemingly incidentally, yet fulfilling the stated purpose of He Kura Kōrero: The Gift of Speech, Te Reo Māori is sprinkled throughout in a perfectly natural way. Whether you are fluent, have a smattering of te reo or know virtually none, the context will ensure you are never confused. For some of the young, many of the historical names mentioned above will be a lot more strange and new – as I said upfront: it’s all about discovery. That’s how we learn, all our lives. This play imbues us with history, legend and te reo by stealth.

With great flair, fun and focus, director Carrie Green and her cast, with Jennifer Lal on lights and sound, bring the script by Rutene Spooner and Holly Chappell-Eason to vibrant life. A mother nearby, with her tamariki, says, “This is the best one I’ve seen.” Ae. Take her kupu for it.


Jo Hodgson October 6th, 2019

We loved it Cassandra Tse Jonathan Morgan Jennifer Lal and Carrie Green And rest of team. Twice in one morning, as I was ushering, it fully engaged my 7 and 8 year olds ! Excellently performed , intergrating Te Reo and Maori legend with fantastic fun, food for thought and Engaging communication for all the ages in the audience (as young as 2). What we loved about it was the question of what is a taonga? Treasures are many things to many people, whether that is a memory, a place, or a material object or a person, bringing about an answer which is so important and gathering world wide voice...... Te Ao Mārama. The reference to many famous Kiwi’s gives opportunity for ongoing discussion and research for the kids too. Books at home like Rebel Girls or Go Girls and Maori Hero’s are being searched through.
Thank you to you all. And YES , take your kids or Grandkids or friends kids !!
Below is a review by a 9 year old who saw the show too.

Liz Kirkman October 2nd, 2019

I was really excited to be able to share this show with my almost 4 year old, but I did wonder how a show aimed at older children would go down with those younger. Our group of 3/4 year olds and for a large part, even the 2 year old were all enthralled; definitely on the journey of discovery with the characters. The messages and content certainly more available to older children, but the engagement, humour, physicality and song, in harmony at times, highly engrossing for any age. 

Certainly for our tribe, the 'blood splatter' moment felt a theatrical way to show war to children without scaring or going too deep and focused on 'safety and bravery.' Considering its intended audience, I didn't see it to be an issue.

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