One Day A Taniwha…

Riverbank below #1 Car Park, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton

18/02/2012 - 26/02/2012

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2012

Production Details

From the team that brought you Maui Magic. 

Take the whole family on a magical journey down the Waikato River, where they will discover the legend of Te Kaiurungi those whose job it was to befriend and guide Taniwha. This summer a brother and sister will have the adventure of a life time, where they will have to navigate their way through some very odd and sticky situations.

The Taniwha show is not only performed by the cast but is developed, devised and work shopped together. There is a basic storyline and characters written and the cast and director work together to come up with the final show. An original.

Riverbank below #1 Car Park, Hamilton Gardens

18 February 2012, 11:00am 
18 February 2012, 3:00pm

19 February 2012, 11:00am 
19 February 2012, 3:00pm

25 February 2012, 11:00am 
25 February 2012, 3:00pm

26 February 2012, 11:00am 
26 February 2012, 3:00pm

Free admission or koha

Chris Neels

Albert Walker

Loren Mason

Eli Matthewson

40 mins, Sat & Sun only

Delightful invention with corny but cute appeal

Review by Gail Pittaway 20th Feb 2012

With the title taken from a song many learn as children, “One day a taniwha went swimming in the moana,” there are no prizes for guessing who the prime audience for this show. 

Smack Bang Theatre Company has already made quite a name nationally with their commitment to locally written and produced theatre. Here a quartet of young Auckland actors presents an interactive kids show in the outdoors, introducing some of the lesser known friends and enemies of Maui in an entertaining, relaxed way.

Moana and her Koro are out fishing when suddenly he is taken off by a large fish, a taniwha and she has to go on a journey to find him. She meets up with Pake, a naughty water sprite with a leprechaun’s impishness and accent, and Tere, a tame and gentle taniwha. Together with Tere, Moana encounters several colourful characters from mythology along the way while Pake keeps popping up and making trouble.

Appropriately for the amount of running and leaping they all do, the cast wear matching rugby shorts and blue sports singlets. It’s a versatile basis for the added tawdry and witty baubles of modern life they use to lead us into the world of magic; tinselled Tina Turner wigs for the female deities and water guns, plastic whistles and backpacks as handy props.

Their invention is delightful and there are some ingenious parts of audience interaction. A great favourite was when the kids in the audience were corralled to chase Pake the naughty sprite and squirt him with their water bottles. The actors managed to wrest the show back from the excited and triumphant kids eventually.

It’s a very enjoyable show for all ages, but a bit slow to get moving. Some of the opening gags could be sped up. Despite the necessary ad-libbing and conversational nature of the play these three young men and a one young woman whose names are not given on the website (and provided no programme) give a carefully plotted series of adventures and encounters.

The voices are all wonderfully clear and they have a strength of gesture and physical performance which comes from practice and planning. They run a lot – the length of the river side, in bare feet on the shingles, and leap and prance, changing voices with their wigs and capes.Maui as self-styled superhero is a favourite with the young ones, as is Pake the water sprite. A stinking sock puppet and a few nice drag acts to add to the corny but cute appeal that is expected of such a show. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo