Auckland Town Hall, Auckland

03/03/2011 - 03/03/2011

Genesis Energy Theatre, Telstra Clear Pacific Events Centre, Manakau, Auckland

04/03/2011 - 05/03/2011

Auckland Arts Festival 2011

Production Details

“Ihimaera was my chance to write the songs I carry in my heart about our country, belonging and being us. Have I had fun? You betcha. And to have New Zealand’s top contemporary singers compose and sing them? Wow.” –Witi Ihimaera 

In this unique concert, twelve of New Zealand’s best contemporary recording artists come together for four very special nights to perform songs inspired by the rare and moving words of iconic Maori writer, Witi Ihimaera.

From Che Fu to Horomona Horo, Teremoana Rapley to SJD, amazing Kiwi-musos create songs from 12 totally new lyric poems written by Ihimaera, setting his words in a wide range of styles which showcase Ihimaera’s distinctive and powerful evocations of life in Aotearoa and the impressive diversity of New Zealand music. 

In its fusion of great literature and outstanding musical talent, Ihimaera is a phenomenal feat of artistry. Linked by narration from star of Outrageous Fortune, Kirk Torrance, and produced by Charlotte Yates, creator of the wonderful Baxter (2000) and Tuwhare (2006), Ihimaera gives the author’s words a new wardrobe of sound. 

A special Auckland Arts Festival commission, Ihimaera receives its world-premiere in 2011. A CD of songs from the show is set to be released by Universal Music NZ in February 2011. Artists featured include Lupin (Victoria Girling-Butcher), LA Mitchell, Unitone Hi Fi, Ruia Aperahana, Horomona Horo, Che Fu, Warren Maxwell, Maisey Rika, The Twinks (Milan Borich and Tim Arnold ex- PLUTO), SJD, Teremoana Rapley and Charlotte Yates. 

Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall
3 – 5 March, 8pm
Festival page


Fascinating and provocative look at a contentious icon

Review by William Dart 05th Mar 2011

She saluted James K. Baxter in 2000 and Hone Tuwhare five years later; on Thursday, Charlotte Yates once again rounded up her colleagues to pay tribute to a rather more contentious literary icon, Witi Ihimaera.

Yates’ connecting script, engagingly put across by Kirk Torrance, was mostly spot-on. Assiduously researched and only occasionally dipping into lecture mode, it did not shirk issues such as Ihimaera’s gayness or the plagiarism controversy of The Trowenna Sea.

This commentary created context for the songs of the evening. [More
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