Hannah Playhouse, Cnr Courtenay Place & Cambridge Terrace, Wellington

18/07/2016 - 23/07/2016

Municipal Theatre, Napier

11/10/2016 - 11/10/2016

Theatre Royal, 78 Rutherford Street, Nelson

18/10/2016 - 19/10/2016

Nelson Arts Festival 2016

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2016

Production Details

Capital E National Theatre for Children

Capital E National Theatre for Children brings a fresh take on Hinepau to Hannah Playhouse from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 July for young people aged 7+ and their families.

Hinepau, the enchanting tale about staying true to yourself, respecting our environment, history, cultural traditions and understanding how the choices we make affect other people, returns to Wellington these school holidays.

Based on the 1993 book by Gavin Bishop and originally devised in 2005 by a team of Māori practitioners: Rachel House, Peter Wilson, Jamie McCaskill, Erina Daniels, Stephen Tamarapa and Maria Walker, Hinepau is a family favourite for people aged 7 and older.

Hinepau is different from other members of the hapū (community). She looks different, weaves back to front, inside out, and she just won’t follow the in-crowd. As time moves on the influence of the tētē ara (upcoming chief) grows, along with his arrogance. When this leads to her banishment and the village’s ruin, only Hinepau’s choice can save the very people who rejected her.

Two of the original devisors, Jamie McCaskill as Director, and Erina Daniels as Creative Consultant, with performers Carrie Green, Erroll Anderson, Jean Volkerling, and Tom Knowles tell the story of Hinepau. They’ll have you giggling at the quirky jokes and humming great songs long after you leave the theatre.

The show fosters a love and respect for Aotearoa’s unique place in the world, and sends the message that the tamariki (young people) and mokopuna (descendants) are the kaitiaki (custodians/trustees) of the future.

Capital E’s Creative Producer Marianne Taylor says, “Humour, Māori mythology and waiata are expertly delivered by our performers to present a story of kaitiakitanga.”

To kick-off the 2016 Hinepau season, Capital E will be hosting a special kid’s only event on Monday 18 July, 6-8pm, where audiences will get to enjoy the show, meet the cast and chow down on a fish ‘n’ chips dinner. Hinepau will be performed from Tuesday 19 July to Saturday 23 July at 11am at Hannah Playhouse.

Following the school holiday shows, there will be three special performances for schools from Wednesday 27 July to Friday 29 July at 11am, where students will have the opportunity to engage with the cast.

Listen to the catchy tune I Live Alone from the show: https://soundcloud.com/capitale-2/i-live-alone

Bookings are open for all Capital E shows. For further information on how to book, dates and times visit the Capital E website capitale.org.nz.

Show information
July School Holidays, Wellington
Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Tce
Tuesday 19 July – Saturday 23 July
$12.50 per person; $44 for groups of 4;
$10 per person for groups of 10 or more;
under twos go free

Kids Only Event
On Monday 18 July, leave Mum and Dad at home and enjoy the show with your friends! Package includes meeting the cast after the show and a fish’n’chips supper.
Monday 18 July
Hannah Playhouse, 12 Cambridge Tce
$20 for Monday 18 July show

Term 3 July-September, Nationally
Show time 11am (followed by 30 minute post-show engagement activity with the cast):
Total duration 1 hour 30 minutes

North Island
Wellington – Hannah Playhouse, 27-29 July
New Plymouth – TSB Showplace Theatre Royal, 2 August
Hamilton – Clarence Street Theatre, 5 August
Manukau – Vodafone Events Centre, 9 August
Whangarei – Forum North, 15 August
Tauranga – Baycourt Community & Arts Centre, 18 August
Rotorua – Civic Theatre, 22 August
Gisborne – War Memorial Theatre,  25 August
Palmerston North – Regent on Broadway,  19 September
North Shore – Bruce Mason Centre,  22 September

South Island
Christchurch – Isaac Theatre Royal, 2 September
Invercargill – Civic Theatre, 6 September
Dunedin – Kings & Queens Performing Arts Centre, 9 September

Hawkes Bay Arts Festival 2016
Napier Municipal Theatre
Tue Oct 11th:  6pm
Adult:  $25
Concession:  $20
Family Pass (price per person):  $20

Nelson Arts Festival 2016
Theatre Royal Nelson
18 October & 19 October, 10am
All enquiries to: festivalenquiries@ncc.govt.nz
Theatre Royal Nelson
18 October, 6pm

Hinepau – Carrie Green (Ngāti Porou)
Rua – Erroll Anderson (Ngā Puhi)
Pori/Koro – Tom Knowles (Rongowhakaata)
Hera – Jean Volkerlin (Ngāti Hine) as Hera

The CREATIVE TEAM that brought you Hinepau:
Originally devised by Rachel House, Peter Wilson, Jamie McCaskill, Erina Daniels, Stephen Tamarapa and Maria Walker.
Director – Jamie McCaskill (Ngāti Tamaterā)
Creative Consultant – Erina Daniels (Ngāti Wai)
Music Composition – Stephen Gallagher
Songs – Jamie McCaskill & Erina Daniels
Set and Costume Designer – Tony De Goldi
Lighting Designer – Jennifer Lal
Puppet Designer – Tony De Goldi, Rebekah Wild, Annemiek Weterings
Movement Coach – Tānemahuta Gray
Puppetry Coach – Peter Wilson
Kōtuku Wings Maker – Annemiek Weterings 

The PRODUCTION/TECHNICAL TEAM that sorted all the logistics:
Creative Producer – Marianne Taylor
Production Manager – Sonia Hardie
Tour Manager – Miriam Gilkes
Stage Manager – Phil Loizou
Technical Operator – Lucie Camp & Joe Newman
Set Construction – Tony De Goldi, Jamie McCaskill
Costume Construction – Anne de Geus
Production Assist – Jason Longstaff
Production Intern – Joshua Tucker, internship from Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School

The Capital E Team who dedicate their work to igniting the creative spark in children and young people:
Director – Stuart Grant
Creative Producer – National Theatre for Children – Marianne Taylor  
Production Manager – National Theatre for Children – Sonia Hardie
Marketing & Communications Manager – Victoria Dadd
Marketing & Publicity Coordinator – Pippa Drakeford
Marketing Coordinator – Sarah Tuck
Business Manager – Morag Zaric
Education Bookings Coordinator – Jillian Davey
Curriculum Resource Writer – Caroline Dinnis
Front of House Supervisor – Fiona Tucker
Creative Technology Manager – Melissa Conway
MediaLab Coordinator – Samuel Phillips
OnTV Coordinator – Peter Graham
Digital Tutor – Kit Benham
Events Coordinator – Karen Carey
Visitor Services Host – Cara Waretini
Visitor Services Host – Elly Holland
Relationship Development Coordinator – Amanda Hereaka

Capital E National Theatre for Children Artistic Advisory Panel: 
Jenny Wake, Amanda Hereaka, Jason Te Kāre, Annette Downs, Bevin Linkhorn, Stuart Grant, Marianne Taylor.  

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

55 mins

Clever mix of comedy, legend, Te Reo Māori and theatre

Review by Trish Sullivan 19th Oct 2016

We witness the story of Hinepau, who saves her village from ruin after having been evicted for being different. Her friends have disowned her and she seeks solace in the forest, making a home amongst the trees with the birds for company. Carrie Green has a beautifully full and rounded voice. As she sings, weaves and dances with the flax, her lament draws us in to the pain and suffering as she is cast out by her friends. 

The set is unpretentious but the addition of remarkable lighting from Jennifer Lal brings the scenes to life. We feel the power of the gods, we see the cold desolation of the village and through the addition of a powerful soundscape, we are right there with Hinepau on her journey.

The work is well choreographed around the space. A cast of four (Carrie Green, Erroll Anderson, Tom Knowles and Jean Volkerling) take us to each scene with such simple manoeuvres, including sleeping upright at the whare! Particular mention must be made to Tom Knowles, sporting his giant pounamu, as both Pori and Koro. He so skilfully becomes the old, wise man with the simple additions of a korowai and a stick. We all recognise the character of Koro. He is strong, he is wise, but also just a little bit silly. 

There is a moral to this story: look after the earth and it will repay you. A beautiful scene unfolds where flax bushes glide, alive with Piwakawaka and Tui, around the stage, dancing with Hinepau as she realises her power. Another bird appears later: Ruru the owl, with beautiful wings of white. Ruru commands the stage and encloses Hinepau as she sings. This is a beautiful moment and I might have liked to linger there a little longer.

The audience is a mix of young and not-so-young and I think Capital E entertain both. They engage us with some preshow interactive entertainment and the odd thumbs up to the kids.

It is a really clever mix of comedy, legend, Te Reo Māori and theatre. I hope more people get to witness this glorious rendition of the tale of Hinepau


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High quality and compelling theatre for the young

Review by Jenny Wake 12th Oct 2016

I expected lashings of gravitas in a play about kaitiakitanga and respect for cultural traditions. But Capital E’s production of Gavin Bishop’s Hinepau is infused with playfulness, from the obligatory cell-phone and emergency-exit message to the old chief’s proverbs. 

It’s lovely to wander into a theatre to find the actors already on stage and singing while we take our seats. They set up an easy rapport with the audience. It feels like we’re among friends. They move seamlessly from warm-up act and pre-show message into the play proper. 

Rua, soon to become chief of his iwi, is rehearsing a narrated performance, a traditional story about cutting down a tōtara tree. His friends – Hinepau, Pori and Hera – play supporting roles, but Hinepau gets carried away and can’t help herself calling out Rua’s lines.

I miss some of the details of the narration but the scene deftly reveals the key character relationships. The actors navigate skilfully around the usual pitfalls of establishing in-crowd/outcast dynamics, and each character remains engagingly likeable. I quickly find myself loving Hinepau for her spontaneity and exuberance, yet can see what a complete pain she is to her playmates.  

With her red hair, unusual talents and inability to follow the pack, Hinepau is the odd one out. She’s different. At night, as the others sleep, she weaves a fish from flax. It’s an exquisite piece of design work – hardly more than a few pieces of flax matting, but when animated the fish swims with astonishing fluidity. 

Hinepau’s unique qualities upset her whanau. Banished from the village, she makes her way fearfully into the forest. Here, visual and sound design elements combine with performance to evoke a natural world that is at first foreboding then flooded with such joyous life that Hinepau quickly feels at home. The flapping, swaying, mobile flax bushes, that quiver as Hinepau harvests the raw material for her weaving, are a highlight, as are the flashing tail feathers of a pīwakawaka who flatly refuses to be called a fantail. 

There’s an earthy warmth to Carrie Green’s portrayal of Hinepau as she grows into her inheritance – and she sings beautifully.

Erroll Anderson plays the cheeky arrogance of the young chief-in-waiting to strutting, chest-puffed perfection. Rua is full of the idea that he will soon have the status of a chief, but forgets he will also inherit guardianship of the iwi’s sacred mountain, ancestral lands and cultural traditions. He ignores the wisdom of his forebears and the consequences are catastrophic.

Tony De Goldi’s set, which at first seemed chunky, gives majesty to the sacred mountain and totara tree. It also gives lighting designer Jen Lal plenty to work with. Lighting the set from inside and out, she transforms the scene from wharenui to living forest to cataclysm and desolation.

Costumes seem simple but expertly support the four talented actors in their changing roles (the other two being Jean Volkerling and Tom Knowles). Two bird costumes are especially effective and, with the actors’ beautifully choreographed movement, evoke a fluttering sense of flight. The soundscape, too, is brilliantly evocative – bringing scenes to life with music and birdsong, but menacing, even terrifying, at just the right moments.

Perhaps in the end there’s a missed opportunity for some stunning visual theatre as Hinepau weaves the world back to life. We’ve seen her do it with her flax fish, so this production team certainly has the skills and imagination to go just that little bit further. But I have to admit that when the new chief gathers Hinepau’s former whanau and starts to tell her story simply in spoken words, it sends shivers up my spine. 

This is a fine piece of work from a company that never fails to deliver high quality and compelling theatre for young New Zealanders.


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A marvellous story told well

Review by Patrick Davies 17th Jul 2016

Based on the story by Gavin Bishop and like Capitals E’s Kiwi Moon, Hinepau is a tale of sacrifice. This current production follows the 2005,-06, and -08 versions, and also goes on tour.* Two of the original devisors who co-created the first version are at the helm: Erina Daniels (Director of the excellent Shot Bro) as Creative Consultant and Jamie McCaskill (Maori theatre’s current tane-about-town) as Director.

Carrie Green (Hinepau), Erroll Anderson (Rua), Jean Volkerling (Hera) and Tom Knowles (Pori/Koro) bring the story to life with great rapport and generosity between themselves and with the audience. They’re onstage as we enter, already in character as the kids who will tell us a story, greeting us, playing with each other, destroying the 4th wall and generally setting the mood of fun. After one of the most novel and clever cellphone/ emergency briefings/ title announcements I have ever experienced, which also goes a long way to setting up the characters and the pecking order of the kids, we get to see their rehearsal of a story they will be performing for their marae.

Already poor Hinepau, all abstract haka moves and giggly delight, comes under fire for being different; it’s not only her bright red hair that sets her apart. She knows she’s different and doesn’t see a problem with it. It’s only after a stunning event in the whare that she is branded a witch and exiled. Living on her own she comes closer and closer to the world around her. Years later she is discovered by the other children and when Rua breaks tapu, causing the world around them to almost be obliterated, it is Hinepau’s ultimate sacrifice that restores Nature, the land and the Marae’s existence.

All four characters are delightful to watch: Rua the narcissistic leader, Hera the ditzy follower, Pori the bumbler and Hinepau the outsider. The actors fill these archetypes with soul and great physicality. It is a very alive and present production. All four adeptly show us the kids and then their older selves without having to announce it narratively, their physicality and voice doing the work for them.  Green’s strength when confronting her former friends, who are about to do wrong, is so steely yet so heart-wrenching, so palpably felt, that I see two or three kids stand up in their seats as if on the verge of assisting.

It’s also very beautiful. CapitalE, to my mind, is possibly the only theatre company that has the resources to consistently create high value work for children. Tony De Goldi’s visually impressive set is simple, tourable and textural: a floor-to-ceiling column of cheesecloth for a Totara; two odd multi-planed rocks that have multiple uses; a wall of rock that serves as a mountain, a wall in a whare, and which is used brilliantly by Jen Lal’s light design. De Goldi’s costumes follow the same suit: the puri, piupiu, etc – fresh and stunning, beautifully woven (Anne de Geus) – visually place us in the early days of Aotearoa.

Stephen Gallagher’s sound design lifts and swirls around us to great effect and the two songs (McCaskill/Daniels) are highlights in the hands of Green. It’s not the easiest thing to be as active as she is with the flax while singing a lyrical song.

Puppetry by Peter Wilson – a feature of every show of CapitalE’s that I’ve seen – and Movement by Tanemahuta Gray add a magical dimension to the show. Late at night Hinepau brings out her weavings and ‘swims’ a spectacularly woven fish around in the air for her own pleasure. All the kids (and adults) in the audience are spellbound when an unseen (and uncredited) stage hand takes over and the fish floats above the sleepers on stage.

This is a marvellous story told well. If I do have a quibble, it’s the climax. While beautiful – Hinepau and the Ruru fly to save the forest and help it to regenerate – it does lack the punch I’d been expecting. The movement and the Ruru’s wings are great but it lacks the sense of regrowth that occurs below. 

The audience are engaged with the onstage antics of the ‘kids’ as they muck about and silent when the drama gets serious. Certainly there are a few hugs from parents during some scary bits but that’s part of the deal and welcome. This is a story with messages that are clear and getting louder these days: if we treat the earth with disrespect we will rue the day, and just because our gifts don’t conform to someone else’s doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough. Well worth seeing. 

*This production has a great whakapapa and it is exciting to know that, under Capital E’s Creative Producer Marianne Taylor and Director Stuart Grant leadership, as well as Hinepau – Behind the Scenes (a new initiative “which provides Wellington schools the opportunity for their students to interact with the cast and crew and create their own digital response to the play”), in 2017 it will tour in Te Reo, in partnership with Taki Rua Productions.  


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