Capital E, Wellington

07/07/2008 - 19/07/2008

Production Details

Enchanting environmental tale sure to engage

Caring for our environment and respecting others is celebrated at Capital E, with the internationally acclaimed stage adaptation of Gavin Bishop’s much-loved book Hinepau, for the July School Holidays. Directed by Murray Lynch, The Dominion Post season of Hinepau is an enchanting contemporary Māori tale that celebrates difference and diversity, the importance of staying true to oneself and honouring the environment as a taonga.

Ideal for children over eight years and adults alike, the show follows the life of Hinepau, a young girl banished from her tribe because she is different. However, later, when disaster strikes, it is Hinepau‘s resilience and understanding of the natural world that saves her people from destruction. Hinepau beautifully speaks to the power of the environment and our impact on it, celebrating the importance of New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage.

Director, Murray Lynch says "To me, Hinepau is a benchmark for thoroughly enjoyable and accessible theatre for young people. It’s full of delightful irreverent humour and carries timely messages with a contemporary voice."

Hinepau originally premiered at Capital E in 2005, and has since had a hugely successful Australian tour, performing to over 7000 children at The Sydney Opera House and The Arts Centre in Melbourne. For this return season, a new highly-acclaimed creative team has been brought together from across New Zealand.

Hinepau features an original sound score by Stephen Gallagher, beautiful animations by Tim Capper & Francis Solole and light design by Jo Kilgour, melded together by respected Wellington director Murray Lynch. Talented performers, Erina Daniels, Reihana Haronga, Regan Taylor and Miriama Ketu, give a fresh approach to this contemporary yet timeless Māori tale.

This vibrant and appealing season of Hinepau, presented by the National Theatre for Children, is sure to foster a love and respect for New Zealand’s unique place in the world. Perfect family entertainment during the holiday break.

The Dominion Post season of Hinepau
When: Monday 7 till Saturday 19 July (no shows Sundays)
Time: 11.00am & 2.00pm daily (except Saturday 5 July, 2.00pm only)
Duration: 55 minutes
Venue: Capital E McKenzie Theatre
Price: $10.50 per person.  $38 group of four. $8.50 per person for groups of 10 or more.
Under two years free.
Bookings: Phone: 04 913 3720. Email: capitalebookings@wmt.org.nz 

Hinepau tour:

Hamilton: Clarence St Theatre, 23-Jul to 24-Jul
Auckland: The Edge, 28-Jul to 1-Aug
South Aucklnad: Telstra Clear Pacific, 5-Aug to 7-Aug
Whangerei: Forum North, 11-Aug to 12-Aug
Rotorua: Convention Centre, 15-Aug
Gisborne: Memorial Theatre, 19-Aug
Napier: Municipal Theatre: 22-Aug
New Plymouth: TSB Showplace, 26-Aug
Palmerston North: CEO Auditorium, 29-Aug
Invercargill: Civic Theatre, 5-Sep
Dunedin: Mayfair Theatre, 8-Sep
Christchurch: Ngaio Marsh Theatre, 11-Sep
Wellington: Capital E, 16-Sep to 19-Sep

Erina Daniels (Hinepau)
Regan Taylor (Pori)
Miriama Ketu (Hera)
Reihana Haronga (Rua)
Roimata Fox (Hera, rehearsals)

Designer:  Glenn Ashworth
Lighting Designer:  Jo Kilgour
Animation:  Francis Salole
Filming:  Tim Capper
Sound  & Composition:  Stephen Gallagher
Puppet Designer & Construction:  Rebekah Wild
Puppetry Consult:  Peter Wilson
Haka Composer:  Hone Hurihanganui
Haka performer:  Maaka Pohatu
Waiata:  Erina Daniels, Jamie McCaskill and members of the cast
Cultural Advisor:  Teina Moetara
Production Manager:  Charlotte Gordon
Costume Construction:  Rebekah Campbell
Rehearsal Stage Manager:  Natasha James
Tour/Stage Manager:  Anna Drakeford
Operator/Mechanist:  Hannah Rogers

Capital E National Theatre for Children Team
Capital E Director:  Stuart Grant
Theatre General Manager:  Stephen Blackburn
Artistic Director:  Peter Wilson
Marketing Manager:  Ebony Bott
Marketing Assistant:  Melanie Hamilton
Operations Support Manager:  Morag Zaric
Front-of-House Supervisor:  Fiona Tucker
Bookings Co-ordinator:  Meelee Joe
Facility Technician:  Simon Jones
Production Manager:  Charlotte Gordon 

She’s smart, funny, pretty hot and misunderstood

Review by Jackson Coe 14th Jul 2008

For those of us who were starting to wonder why the hell all of these skateboards, hoodies and loud laughter have materialised on Cuba St during the daytimes this past week, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it is school holidays. So, for those of you who know or have children of your own, why not shuffle them down to some of the great kids theatre that’s on offer?

Hinepau, at Capital E, is a well-executed re-staging of a play based on a story-book by Gavin Bishop. Hinepau is mistrusted by her tribe because of her red hair and green eyes. After an incident involving some bizarre flying flax-works, she is cast out of her tribe and must fend for herself in the forest. However when the mighty Mountain God is angered by her ex-tribesmates, it is Hinepau who rises to the challenge and restores the land.

The story of Hinepau struck a surprisingly deep chord with me, in part because of Erina Daniel’s superb and warming portrayal of Hinepau and in part because Hinepau is simply the kind of girl I’m prone to falling in love with. She’s smart, funny, pretty hot and, most beguiling of all, misunderstood. Aw, don’t worry, Hinepau, you can come stay with me if you want…

Inappropriate attractions aside, the design elements of this production were what really made it stand out. Glenn Ashworth integrated some great visuals, especially the backdrop which incorporated mountains, owls and tree branches, all of which had a distinctive picture-book charm. Puppetry also features prominently, and Rebekah Wild has constructed some excellent renditions of native birds which look great.

However, the best feature for me was the soundtrack, composed by Stephen Gallagher, which used a wide scope of sounds ranging from modern, roots-inspired singing to the exciting sound-effect of a mountain eruption.


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Stylish with substance

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 10th Jul 2008

Hinepau is a stylishly presented, sophisticated piece of work that contains moments of beauty and technological wizardry as well as a highly relevant message about the environment. First presented in 2005 by Capital E, it is the tale of an outsider, someone who is different. In Hinepau’s case she is eventually excluded from her tribe because she is a brilliant weaver, has red hair, and protests when a giant totara is felled in the forest.

Her woven creatures are works of art (particularly the fish) and her friends, the tui and the piwakawaka, are delightful puppets, and the volcano that devastates the land erupts with fiery gashes of lava sliding down the mountain side, while Hinepau flies off on the back of the Great Ruru in a beautifully conceived climax to the her story.

Despite a rather slow start and the singing of a waiata at the end that makes it appear as if Aotearoa has suddenly become an American colony*, the production is a lively affair with good performances from Erina Daniels as Hinepau, Regan Taylor as Pori, Reihana Haronga as the cocky Rua and Miriama Ketu, who took over the role at short notice, as Hera.
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*[see forum on this]


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A skilful, charming taonga

Review by John Smythe 07th Jul 2008

Returning and revitalised following a "hugely successful Australian tour of the 2005 production, performing to over 7000 children at The Sydney Opera House and The Arts Centre in Melbourne," Hinepau uses the simple sorcery of theatre to dramatise the Gavin Bishop picture book.

The new director, Murray Lynch, and the mostly new cast bring a light touch to the tale while ensuring the empathetic connections and key learning points have due effect. Nothing is forced and nothing is missed.

With sympathetic intelligence Erina Daniels reprises the role of Hinepau, the compulsively different redhead who, in contravention of the established rules, weaves her splendid harakeke (flax) artefacts back-to-front, inside-out, the wrong-way-round. Hence she is branded a witch, ridiculed, shunned then banished to the wilderness to fend for herself.

Reihana Haronga captures the posturing arrogance of soon-to-be chief Rua to comic effect without reducing the seriousness of his foolish actions, specifically felling a totara without observing the correct protocols. So some rules, the story says, are absolute, like respect for the forces of nature that give us food and shelter.

Doubling as wise old Koro and naïve young Pori, Regan Taylor likewise strikes a good balance between humour and seriousness, handling the age-difference with a minimum of fuss.

Miriama Ketu is compelling in the stillness and depth she brings to Hera, torn between going with the flow and the mob, and wanting to be friends with Hinepau.

The production values are crucial to telling this story well and every department rises to the challenge wonderfully. Francis Salole’s animations and Tim Capper’s filming combine to produce projections that carry core narrative and add magical touches. Rebekah Wild’s puppet designs and construction are fabulous, bringing Hinepau’s weaving to life and animating a fish and two birds beautifully.

Glen Ashworth’s set design, not least the clumps of flax, Jo Kilgour’s lighting and Stephen Gallagher’s elemental sound design – culminating in a volcanic eruption – serve the story superbly.

Pitched as ideal for age 8 and above, Hinepau has something to say to us all and does so with great skill and charm. A taonga.


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