NGĀ TAI O KURAWAKA: HE KURA E HUNA

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

08/09/2015 - 10/09/2015

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015

Production Details


Writer and director Hōhepa Waitoa

Taki Rua Productions


A work in development from Taki Rua Productions and told in te reo, this story tells of Poutini and Waitaiki – love, challenge and danger and the myths of  pounamu.

Every stone has a story, but none as poignant as the tale of Tamaahua, Poutini and Waitaiki. Kidnapped by Poutini the taniwha, the beautiful Waitaiki is held captive while her husband, Tamaahua, is hot on their heels in pursuit. Treasured and revered for its unique beauty, pounamu – the story of Aotearoa’s iconic stone.

He ingoa taniwha a Poutini – he tipua no te ao wairua. Koia te kaitiaki o Ngahue, te atua e kiia nei koia te atua o te pounamu. He kōrero tēnei mō Poutini rāua ko Waitaiki. He whakaari e whakatau ana i ngā uauatanga, ngā taero o Tūtekoropaka, a, me tēnei mea te aroha ki te tangata. Ka ruku tātou I ngā wai i kauria ai a Poutini ki te rapa i te kura e huna ana, arā, ko Te Pounamu.

Mai i tera ra ki naianei kei te tere haere tonu a Poutini i te Tai Hauauru o Te Waipounamu, i a ia e tiaki nei i te tangata whenua me te mauri o te pounamu. E mohiotia ana te Tai Hauauru o Te Waipounamu ko Te Tai o Poutini.

100% Te Reo Māori
Proudly supported by Ma Te Reo

He Kura E Huna Ana opens in Ōtautahi ON Tuesday, 8 September, for a development season as part of the Christchurch Arts Festival and will be performed at The Forge (at the Court Theatre).

He Kura E Huna Ana is a total immersion Te Reo Māori piece and it will be the first time that such a work has been performed at the Court Theatre. We are pleased to announce that the show has completely sold out.

He Kura E Huna Ana combines traditional Māori performance elements with theatre in a modern re-telling of the origins of pounamu in the Arahura River. This kōrero sees the taonga of Māori mythology juxtaposed with a contemporary narrative about the harsh realities of life in the present day. He Kura E Huna Ana brings to life the Ngāti Waewae story about Poutini (the kaitiaki of pounamu on the West Coast) and Waitaiki and seeks to heighten awareness of mātauranga Māori, regional cultures and histories within Aotearoa.

8-10 September, 7pm
The Court Theatre
Book www.courttheatre.org.nz 0800 333 100 – SOLD OUT!


Performers - Kihere Aumua-Jahnke, Tania Gilchrist, Jared Hiakita, Kristopher Jones and Tyson Tangaroa
Sound design by Sheree Waitoa


Theatre , Te Reo Māori , Te Ao Māori ,


A story of great worth beautifully told

Review by Erin Harrington 10th Sep 2015

Taki Rua’s work-in-progress He Kura E Huna Ana, which is presented entirely in te reo Māori, offers a dual narrative: the famous Māori legend about the origins of pounamu converges with and enriches a modern day story about a young woman who needs to find a way to deal with the issues and mounting pressures that face her, both practically and spiritually. The combination of the narratives enriches both, demonstrating that strength comes from an acknowledgement of our origins, our stories and our connections with our loved ones and ancestors. 

I only have watercooler-level proficiency in Te Reo, which renders me less than qualified for this review,* but the production, which also includes waiata and movement, is delivered with such clarity that I have little trouble following the action, the development of the characters and their relationships, and the unfurling of the crises that mark the intersection of the traditional and modern day narratives.

The limitations imposed by the fact that this is a piece in development have meant that the staging is quite stripped back, but I hope this simplicity is retained further in the piece’s life, for this spartan approach brings the actors’ voices and physicality to the fore. The performers themselves (Kihere Aumua-Jahnke, Tania Gilchrist, Jared Hiakita, Kristopher Jones and Tyson Tangaroa) deliver their roles with authority, warmth and humour. 

Writer / director Hōhepa Waitoa makes clever and creative use of the space and its limitations, and he creates a strong connection between the performers and the audience. A simple piece of staging near the end, which marks the intersection of the traditional and the modern narratives, has a powerful impact. The action is augmented by Sheree Waitoa’s thoughtful and effective sound design, which combines simple percussive noises and the intermittent trickling of water with acoustic guitar. Together this is a well-presented show that has a great sense of purpose about it.

While I can’t speak to the specificities of the script, the responses from audience members during the feedback session, many of whom later identify themselves as students of Te Reo, indicate that it’s a story of great worth that is beautifully told. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the production to anyone who shares my dismal lack of linguistic capability. Obviously I’ve missed a lot, but I find this experience of watching a show that’s presented in a language I don’t really speak, while sitting in an audience who largely have a degree of fluency, to be really special. It’s special, too, for Māori work to be presented in the Court Theatre, and I hope more follows. 

Thank you to both Taki Rua and the Christchurch Arts Festival, for sharing a work-in-progress. It’s a privilege to be able to experience a work that’s in a nascent state, and such presentations are an emphatic reminder that theatre isn’t a commodity, pre-packaged for our consumption – it’s a living thing that’s by and about people, and always in process. 

*[On discovering at short notice this development season wanted to be reviewed after all, every effort was made to find a suitably qualified te reo speaker to review it. Thanks to Erin for taking it on anyway so that its genesis may be written into the record. Hopefully a future season will be reviewed by a fluent speaker. ED]

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