University of Otago Staff Club, Dunedin

06/09/2018 - 07/09/2018

Production Details

Homecoming is comprised of three sections – a site specific promenade through the University from the Staff Club up into Allen Hall, then a presentation of Hell and Bullets – a play drawn from the diary of a Gallipoli soldier (Hohepa Teihoka – who is co-director Cindy Diver’s great grandfather) and  finishing with the returning soldiers who went on to graduate from the University following the story of an actual Otago grandaunt who fought in France (Donald Stuart McNaughton).

The play is being produced for the University of Otago Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts in association with Theatreworks Ltd. The directors are Cindy Diver and Hilary Halba. The play is compiled and written in part by John Broughton with one of New Zealand’s leading Māori actors Taungaroa Emile playing the lead role, supported by a local feast of talent from the Dunedin performing community including Mark Neilson, Matt Wilson and Erina Daniels. The production will include singer Sophie Morris, Musical Director and pianist Sam van Betuw, a piper, musicians and a roopu waiata Maori.  Martyn Roberts is the designer for the project and will be creating a special visual projected component on University buildings as an accompaniment to the evening.

1pm, Thursday 6 and Friday 7 September (abridged version)

7pm, Friday 7 September

Tickets $10 from Theatreworks


Hilary Halba Co-Director

Cindy Diver Co-Director/Producer

Martyn Roberts Designer

Dominic Houlihan Production Assistant

John Broughton Writer /Researcher/Compiler

Frances DiverProject Kaumatua

Brittany Sillifant Sound Designer

Abby Forrester Costume Designer

Maryanne SmytheCostume Advisor

Ashleigh De GouwSet Designer

Ahi Kaitai-MullaneStage Manager

Sam UhrleLighting Operator

Jess BlythLighting Operator

Chelsea GuthrieSound Operator


Taungaroa Emile  Hohepa Teihoka

Mark Neilson  Narrator/Officer

Matt Wilson  Donald Stuart McNaughton

Sophie Morris  Nurse/Singer

Erina Daniels  Waiata support/Performer

Luke Major  Ghost Soldier

Kieran Kelly  Ghost Soldier/Singer

Simon Anderson  Ghost Soldier/Supporting Singer

Harrison Diver (as himself)


Sam van Betuw  Musical Director /Pianist

Waiariki Parata-Taiapa  Waitata Roopu leader

Dugald Mackay  Piper


Caitlin Barlow–Groome  OUSA President (as herself)

Dr Royden Somerville  Chancellor (as himself)

Theatre ,

75 minutes

Professionalism, focus ensure powerful impact

Review by Barbara Frame 11th Sep 2018

A sombre mood prevailed at the final performance ofHomecoming at the Allen Hall Theatre on Saturday night, writes Barbara Frame. 

Compiled and written by John Broughton from material in World War 1 soldiers’ diaries, the play tells two linked stories: those of Hohepa Teihoka, whose sense of duty and purpose becomes overlaid with horror and grief at the deaths of so many comrades; and Donald Stuart McNaughton, who came home at war’s end and gained an Otago University degree.

Earlier the audience, consisting largely of members of the Otago Officers Club, had been treated to piping and singing outside Marama Hall, dramatically lit for the occasion. The production, directed by Cindy Diver and Hilary Halba, is notable for its consistency and attention to detail. [More


Make a comment

“history is not so long ago”

Review by Sophie Fern 08th Sep 2018

On November 11th it will be 100 years since the Armistice, the treaty between the Allies and Germany, was signed to end the First World War.  In a site-specific piece, based around the historic part of Otago University, Homecoming tells the stories of two of the South Island men who fought in the war. 

It’s a cold spring Friday night and, just after dark, the audience gathers in a small crowd on the wide bridge that crosses the Water of Leith.  On the other side of the bridge, where there are memorial stones to fallen soldiers, we can see an old tree lit up in red, and a few musicians strum and sing waiata as we wait.

As the University clock tower clock strikes seven, a bagpiper appears around the corner followed by two men in World War 1 uniforms.  The audience follows the piper across the bridge towards some of the older campus buildings.  When we approach the tree, we can see red poppies spilling from the trunk and pooling on the ground.  A woman (Sophie Morris) appears in a doorway to sing. 

We then are ushered up steps into Allen Hall Theatre, entering under a light show of falling poppies and into the auditorium for the main show.  For those unfamiliar with the university, this walk roots the following stories into their place.  The walk echoes a pōwhiri, being welcomed and led both into the space and into the piece. 

The stage is set with some sandbags and a swath of cloth with a projected image of writing. The next part of the evening is called ‘Hell and Bullets’ and is drawn from the diary of Hohepa Teihoka. Teihoka is played by Taungaroa Emile who has a beautifully expressive face that speaks as loudly as his words. 

The piece follows Teihoka’s diary journey from the boat to the Middle East, where he ends up at Gallipoli.  Teihoka runs the supply chains between base and the trenches, dodging Turkish bullets as he goes.  Songs from the First World War are interspersed with waiata, commenting on the progress of the story. 

Mark Neilson serves as kaikōrero/narrator, giving context to Teihoka’s words. The language of the piece is not dramatic, allowing the story to be told in such a way that the audience has space to fill in the blanks for themselves.

‘Hell and Bullets’ ends with one of Teihoka’s decedents, Harrison Diver, proudly wearing his ancestor’s medals, telling the audience how Teihoka’s story ends.   And this Friday night, many of Teihoka’s descendants are in the audience and are welcomed onto the stage. 

After a short interval, there is a second story.  This one is more university based, opening with students graduating and one of them, played by Matt Wilson, ever so slightly older than the others.  He draws parallels between the graduation service (read, with appropriate gravitas, by the University of Otago’s real Chancellor Royden Somerville) and the commission that he had when he joined the army. 

Donald Stuart McNaughton was one of the students whose studies were interrupted by going to Europe to fight along with hundreds of other University of Otago students and staff.  McNaughton took photos rather than wrote a diary and some of these are projected onto the backdrop. A different story but the same war, where lives were broken and those who returned were never quite the same. 

We can only remember them through stories and pieces like this serve as a reminder that history is not so long ago.   This evening, the setting, the people, the welcome and the music bring some of this back for us.


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council