Hawkins Theatre, Papakura, Auckland

26/06/2017 - 27/06/2017

Turner Centre, 43 Cobham Road, Kerikeri

07/06/2018 - 08/06/2018

Production Details

A musical Matariki puppet show that glows in the dark! Suitable for all ages!

Hawkins Theatre, 13 Ray Small Drive, Papakura
Monday 26th & Tuesday 27th June 2017
6.30pm (30 mins)


“It’s charming and fun and, when it comes to Matariki, you won’t find anything else like it anywhere in the world”. Lexie Matheson – Theatre Review 2017

After a sell-out 2017 season, magical, glow-in-the-dark puppet show HEAVEN and EARTH – RANGI and PAPA is set to return with a Far North to South Auckland tour.

Based on the legend behind Matariki, the visual spectacle is sure to wow littlies and adults alike with an original soundtrack, te reo and UV puppets – including a 5-metre Taniwha – operated by four talented performers from South Auckland.

The show is the concept of Sarah Burren, the creative genius and director behind Northland-based Little Green Man Productions.

“We are thrilled to bring HEAVEN and EARTH – RANGI and PAPA from South Auckland to the Far North in 2018. What can be more magical than a glow-in-the-dark puppet show during Matariki? The story telling, the music and the legendary Maori characters make this an engaging and inspirational show we can’t wait for you to experience,” says Burren.

This is the perfect opportunity to get the family, a pre-school or school group together, to celebrate the traditional Maori New Year with a fun and engaging performance. It is also a wonderful chance for children to learn about the myths and legends of New Zealand in an entertaining way.

Plus, there will be a chance for the kids to find out more with a Q&A after each 40-minute show.

HEAVEN and EARTH – RANGI and PAPA will run from 28th May to 21st July 2018, with show times and ticket prices suitable for school audiences.

Tickets for the limited season go on sale on 10th April 2018. To book tickets for individuals or groups see details below.

Northland-based Little Green Man Productions fuses education and entertainment to create world-class theatre and live events. Creative Director, Sarah Burren collaborates with other artists to produce original and leading-edge experiences, which have included Journey to the Deep – an edutainment project aimed at connecting people to the sea, held at Silo Park, Auckland in 2012.


The Pumphouse TAKAPUNA
May 28 at 1pm and May 29 – June 1 at 11am and 1pm daily.
Bookings at www.pumphouse.co.nz or phone 09 489 8360

June 4 at 3pm and June 5 – 6 at 10am and midday daily.
Bookings at: 09 4089453

Turners Centre KERI KERI
June 7 – 8 at 10am and midday daily.
Bookings at 09 4070260

June 11 – 13 at 10am and midday daily.
Bookings at: http://m.ticketek.co.nz/shows/show.aspx?sh=HEAVENAN18

June 14 – 15 at 10am and midday daily.
Bookings at www.eventfinda.co.nz

Centre Stage OREWA
June 18 – 22 at 11am and 1pm daily. Bookings at Estuary Arts Centre 09 4265570/ 0211724113

Victoria Theatre DEVONPORT
June 25 at 1pm and June 26 at 11am and 1pm.
Bookings at www.thevic.co.nz 09 4460100

Hawkins Theatre PAPAKURA June 27 – 29 at 11am and 1pm daily.
Bookings at www.eventfinda.co.nz

The Rose Centre BELMONT
July 2, 4, 5, 6 at 11am and 1pm daily and July 3 at 12.45pm and 2pm.
Bookings at www.eventfinda.co.nz

Mangere Arts Centre MANGERE
July 17 – 21 at 11am and 1pm daily.
Bookings at www.eventfinda.co.nz

Performed by Tekeepa Aria, Mita Tupaea, Tavai Puuni & Ani Nuku

Theatre , Puppetry , Musical , Family , Children’s ,

30 mins

A garden of unearthly delights

Review by Alan Scott 07th Jun 2018

A packed house of children roars a greeting as an unearthly creature springs to life in the middle of the stage at the opening of Heaven and Earth – Rangi and Papa. Two more weird creatures follow and are met with similar cheers. There we are, I think: only thirty seconds gone and all of us are captivated, spellbound and lapping it up. As more glow-in-the-dark puppets float into view it is clear that, whether adults or children, we are in for a magical ride through Māori myth and legend.

It is a straightforward tale that Little Green Men Productions are offering us and it is all the better for that. It’s a story about Matariki and her six daughters or the Seven Sisters, as they are often referred to. The universe is put out of alignment when the littlest sister, Waipunarangi, loses her place in the night sky and ends up in the sea, floating disconsolately in a watery world she knows nothing about.

We see her encounters with a variety of sea creatures, some weird, some wonderful and some frightening, as she struggles to find a way home. With the aid of a more scared than scary taniwha, she and her sisters, who have now joined her, recruit Tāwhiri, the weather god, hoping that his blasts and gales will whirl her back up into space.

Well, that almost does the trick but not quite. So the members of audience are called upon, en masse, to join in and blow as hard as they can, which they joyfully do. And I can happily report that all is now well and balance has been restored to the heavens. 

There is a marvellous balance to the theatre we are offered, too. It is puppet theatre but the whole team make it so easy for us to suspend disbelief and accept the world we are seeing. 

There is never a moment when a string or rod or puppeteer catches your eye and spoils the effect. In a sense, there is no effect because what you see is what the world is. Everything is so believable; you find yourself completely immersed in the story. And that makes Heaven and Earth theatre of a high order.

What contributes immensely to this masterful conjuring up of another world is the choreography that is allied with the puppeteers’ skills. There are some fish in the undersea world we are presented with, and their activities and movement are so fishlike you think for a moment you might be staring into an aquarium and not at a stage.

Sara Burren’s concept and design are first class. The puppets and creatures she has created are wonders to behold – a garden of unearthly delights – and they are handled with consummate skill. Music, singing and spoken dialogue add to the thrilling mix and the end result is a superbly alive and entertaining piece of theatre. 


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Charming, fun and not to be found anywhere else in the world

Review by Lexie Matheson ONZM 28th Jun 2017

Ko Te Kore:
Te Kore te whiwhia; Te Kore te rawea; Te Kore I ai; Te Kore te wiwia.
Na Te Kore Te Po: 
Te Po nui; Te Po roa; Te Po uriuri; Te Po kerekere; Te Po tiwhatiwha; Te Po te kitea; Te Po tangotango; Te Po whawha; Te Po namunamu ki taiao; Te Po tahuri atu; Te Po tahuri mai ki taiao;
Ki te Whai ao:
Ki te Ao marama.
Tihei mauri ora.

Thus the scene is set for this delightful black light puppet show for children – and for those of us who staunchly reject every suggestion that it might be time for us to grow up.  

From the nothingness, through eons of a time not yet measured, to first life, this is the exciting journey of The Seven Sisters, of Matariki: the traditional Māori New Year.* Here they are in front of us, in the flesh so to speak, Matariki herself (Tavai Puni Meleisea) with her sisters Tupu-ā-nuku (Mita Tupaea), Tupu-ā-rangi (Mita Tupaea), Waitī (Te Keepa Aria),Waitā (Te Keepa Aria), Uru-ā-rangi (Ani Nuku), and little Waipuna-ā-rangi (Ani Nuku) all set to tell an exciting new story, straight from the astoundingly creative mind of writer/director Midge Perez. 

I arrive at the nicely appointed Hawkins Theatre to be confronted by a ‘SOLD OUT’ sign. What a joy it is to be able to say that about a show, although it’s becoming more the rule than the exception here in Tāmaki Makaurau. I enter the dimly lit auditorium having been told to “sit wherever you like”. I take this advice and sit in the centre of row five. Great view, I think to myself; perfect. Good to arrive 10 minutes early. More chance of the best seat when I do that, I mutter into my attractive programme. There are a few people around, some adults, a few kids, not many.

Five minutes later I am buried in an avalanche of excited primary school-aged, small people and a number of good humoured yet superficially stern teachers who immediately set about seating the children properly. I shift to the left-hand end of row five when it becomes clear that having a big person – I feel enormous among the swarm of little’uns – sitting ostentatiously in the midst of the loud, animated crowd is inappropriate but mostly because a woman impersonating Nurse Gladys Emmanuel from Open All Hours asks me accusingly which school I am with. I mumble, “I’m reviewing the show,” and move immediately out of her purview.

It seems there are kids for miles, kids with miles of smiles and chatter. The smallest boy in the world sits next to me and engages me in intelligent conversation largely in te reo. I do my best but his, “Are you a girl or a boy?” flummoxes me as it always does. “I’m a girl,” I say in the voice I save for moments like these, a cross between Paul Robeson playing Dottor Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and the final moments of a bath emptying. He nods, loses interest, and later falls off his seat, disappearing into the darkness much to the amusement of all around him. Except me. I am concerned. I assume everyone will blame me, but life simply carries on. Disaster averted,

Little Green Man Productions have created a magical, glow-in-the-dark puppet show and it’s truly enchanting. I’ve seen black light shows before and I’ve always come away disappointed. The magic is easily broken by bumbling puppeteers visible in the semi-darkness but that simply isn’t the case with these performers: they’re all class. Not once do I see a body behind, over or underneath the puppets, nor do I hear the sound of cloddish feet thundering across the stage. It is totally silent and all that is visible are Sara Burren’s beautifully manipulated and exquisitely choreographed creatures and all that is audible is exquisite singing, music and storytelling.

It’s a simple narrative. The littlest sister star, Waipuna-ā-rangi, seems to have a bit of a head cold, certainly the snuffles, and having kept her otherwise snoring sisters awake for ages by bouncing them, choreographically, all over the night sky with her sneezing, she eventually sneezes herself out of the sky and down to earth where she finds all is not well.

She meets an irascible Kiwi who thinks he’s a cow (Ani Nuku and Tavai Puni Meleisea), a Fish who thinks he’s a dog and a Glow-worm that meows (Mita Tupaea). Then comes Mr Scary himself, the haututu Taniwha (Te Keepa Aria).

We’ve been warned in the pre-show welcome not to be scared of the taniwha so we’re not – and we have no reason to be. He’s actually a bit of a darling and when Waipuna-ā-rangi meets him it’s as though he’s more scared of her than she is of him. Matariki and her other big sisters come to earth to rescue their little sis but it’s the little sis who has to educate her older and bigger siblings about Taniwha and how he’s actually quite nice.

Getting back to the heavens is a challenge until Taniwha has the bright idea to call on the services of his mate Tāwhirimateā to blow them, with his winds and storms, back to their home in the sky. It’s not that easy or that successful as an idea until the tamariki in the audience are asked to help – one of many times throughout the show that they volubly assist – and then, of course, the idea becomes the best idea ever when it works. 

While the plot is at times a bit clunky (Midge Perez), no-one seems to care and the songs, music and keyboards (also the multi-talented Midge Perez) are fabulous throughout. The narrative is begun, interspersed and ended – clever little bookends – by a massive Io, God of the Universe (Mita Tupaea) puppet who connects the luminescent dots and makes the whole thing work a treat. 

Earth and Heaven – Rangi & Papa is a great concept theatrically and a splendid way of introducing young people to the traditions of Matariki, not that this audience needed much, they have been beautifully prepared by teachers and engage 120% throughout. I am fortunate too, in that, had there been a subtlety I may have missed, the clever, albeit tiny, young dude next to me keeps me fully informed and I reciprocate, when asked, with details about the technicals. How wonderful being five years old and already steeped in your culture to a degree that you feel comfortable sharing that knowledge with a less-than-perfect adult stranger. 

Puppet shows live or die on the quality of the puppets and the ability and flair of the puppeteers. No worries here because Sarah Burren’s puppets are superb and the puppeteers skilled, talented and committed. Considering how technical the show is, to bring it to fruition with nary a bump in the dark is certainly a grand achievement. Disbelief is suspended for the full 40 minutes that make up the show, and the delicious after-show chat, and every facet of the production, is more than enjoyable. 

It’s worthy of mention that, of the Matariki Festival shows I’ve seen so far – and there are a number still to come – almost all have featured performers and production personnel who have had formal performance training, whether its via M.I.T, PIPA, Unitec, Toi Whakaari, The Actors’ Program, NASDA or The New Zealand School of Dance or, like Sarah Burren, extensive, often international, professional experience. There’s a new benchmark being set in Tāmaki Makaurau and this is incredibly exciting to witness and to feel a part of.

Heaven and Earth – Rangi & Papa is suitable for all ages and is now heading to Wellington. Keep an eye out for it and be prepared to invest some of your time in checking it out. You won’t be disappointed. It’s charming and fun and, when it comes to Matariki, you won’t find anything else like it anywhere in the world.
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*The Ministry of Culture and Heritage, that fount of all things wise about whakapapa, tells us that “Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. Traditionally for Māori,” it informs us, “when it appeared just before dawn in late May or early June, it signalled the start of the Māori New Year. For some tribes, the rising of Puanga (Rigel in Orion) signals the start of the New Year. In the early 2000s Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), the Ministry of Education and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, became involved in the revival of Matariki celebrations. Different iwi,” we are advised, “celebrate Matariki at different times.  For some it’s when Matariki rises in May and June. For others it’s celebrated at the first new moon, or full moon, following the rise of Matariki.” Since the beginning of the 21st century, tradition suggests it’s the new moon following the rising of Matariki that signals the start of the New Year but, as with most things human, not everyone agrees.

[See also the Māori Dictionary definition.]  


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