Hine Hōia

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

03/08/2023 - 03/08/2023

Production Details

Ōtautahi Christchurch-based writer and director Juanita Hepi (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Mutunga, Moriori, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi),
circus arts expert Danny Lee Syme,
and composer Hamish Oliver

Chamber Music New Zealand

Inspired by the age-old tale of good versus evil, righteousness over temptation, Chamber Music New Zealand has recently collaborated with Ōtautahi Christchurch-based writer and director Juanita Hepi (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe, Ngāti Mutunga, Moriori, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Wai, Ngāpuhi), circus arts expert Danny Lee Syme, and composer Hamish Oliver, to create a new multi-artform work – Hine Hōia.

An epic saga of love, greed, and trickery, Hine Hōia is brought to life through storytelling, taonga puoro, circus arts, and live music. Chamber Music New Zealand will present Hine Hōia in five centres as part of their flagship touring CMNZ Series from 3 to 19 August, which will also include three free performances for local rangatahi in Wellington, Gisborne, and Christchurch.
Set in 1918 Aotearoa, whilst the country has been ravaged by the New Zealand wars and the Spanish flu pandemic, Hine Hōia stands at the precipice of a world in tatters, until a chance encounter changes her life forever.

The original score has been written with room for improvisation, allowing the ensemble of Mahina-Ina Kingi-Kaui (taonga puoro), Reuben Derrick (clarinet, saxophone), Hamish Oliver (keyboard, electronics), Seta Timo (bass), and Jono Blackie (drums, percussion) to take an active part in the storytelling.

Member of The Māori Sidesteps and well-known performer Regan Taylor (Ngāti Kahungunu – Te Arawa) takes on the role of Kaiwhakataki/Narrator, whilst recent winner of the Emerging Practitioner Award from NASDA, Tōmairangi Paterson-Waaka, holds the title role of Hine Hōia. Completing the cast is circus artist and choreographer Danny Lee Syme as Te Taipō/The Devil.

“In an era of mis and disinformation, this timeless tale of human nature holds a mirror to our own lives. What are you willing to give up to have the things you want? And what is truly worth having?” says creative director Juanita Hepi.

This Chamber Music New Zealand Puoro Taiwhanga Aotearoa national tour is supported by Creative New Zealand and Toi Ōtautahi Year of the Arts 2023.

Thursday 3 August, 7.30pm
Te Auaha, Wellington

Wednesday 9 August, 7.30pm
Lawson Field Theatre, Gisborne

Saturday 12 August, 7.30pm
Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

Wednesday 16 August, 7.30pm
King’s and Queen’s Performing Arts Centre, Dunedin

Saturday 19 August, 7.30pm
The Piano, Christchurch

Tōmairangi Paterson-Waaka, Hine Hōia
Danny Lee Syme, Te Taipō | The Devil
Regan Taylor, Kaiwhakataki | Narrator
Mahina-Ina Kingi-Kaui, taonga puoro
Reuben Derrick, clarinet, saxophone
Hamish Oliver, keyboard, electronics
Seta Timo, bass
Jono Blackie, drums, percussion

Multi-discipline , Theatre , Music ,

Approx. 50 minutes

Potential of craft and talent not yet achieved with clarity and cohesion

Review by Waitahi Aniwaniwa McGee 05th Aug 2023

As the theatre fills in Te Auaha for the opening night of Hine Hōia it’s not long before the audience chatter comes to a halt. Narrator (Regan Taylor) and The Devil (Danny Lee Syme) are travelling along the stage, sometimes greeting audience, sometimes interacting wearily with each other but eventually settling into a fair game of cards. The house lights are on so I know the show hasn’t yet started but the audience however quietens, watching their every move avidly.

It’s a charming way to begin the opening night of this new multidisciplinary work from Chamber Music New Zealand, billed as “An epic saga of love, greed, and trickery”.

All of a sudden, the lighting state shifts, music fills the space and we kick into play.

This work is filled with such craft and talent displaying a range of disciplines: Cirque (Circus Theatre); Musicians; Taonga Puoro; Musical Theatre; Theatre; Mask …

While each performer is a master in their own respective field, this particular show asks the performers to be somewhat familiar with each others’ disciplines, or at least be given the time to become familiar with them … The showing I had the privilege of seeing – privilege because this work will be epic as heck with time – has not yet found cohesion between these disciplines to successfully tell this story of Hine Hōia.

As an audience member I get lost somewhere in the plot. The most concrete thing I can understand is that Hine (Tōmairangi Patterson-Waaka) has been tricked into giving up her Putōrino for something of monetary value… My experience of this show is more one of watching vignette’s with the same characters in different contexts, starting back in the day, to a time I imagine would be like a mythical 1890s. Without the help of the show programme, I would not have been able to piece it together.

This show holds the potential to create groundbreaking work, however it doesn’t seem to have had the rehearsal period it deserves in order to achieve that. I look forward to seeing how Chamber Music New Zealand continues to expand their programme and hope this season gives them a good go at it.


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