BATS Theatre, The Heyday Dome, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

04/06/2019 - 08/06/2019

Kia Mau festival 2019

Production Details

She’s little. She’s black. She’s a bitch.

When Matiu took his own life, his little dog Toto took off with the suicide note. The whole community has been turned upside down. When the dog turns up outside Rangi’s window he knows he must help. He must adopt her – whāngai – and he must protect and hide her. But as he feeds her, his tōtō (blood) begins to run deeper and darker than ever before. Rangitoto has awoken. The earth begins to dance, and the sky bleeds.

Little Black Bitch blends mythology, waiata and black comedy. Written by Jason Te Mete, this is the World Premiere season of an Adam New Zealand Play Award 2018 winning script.

BATS Theatre The Heyday Dome
4 – 8 June 2019
Full Price $20
Concession Price $15
Group 6+ $14
Kia Mau

*Access to The Heyday Dome is via stairs, so please contact the BATS Box Office at least 24 hours in advance if you have accessibility requirements so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Read more about accessibility at BATS.  

Theatre ,

1 hr 20 min, no interval

A haunting, funny and, at times, harrowing drama

Review by Lindsey Rusling 08th Jun 2019

Little Black Bitch is the first play in the Over My Dead Body series by Jason Te Mete which garnered him the Adam NZ Playwright Award 2018. The series is the debut for Tuatara Collective which began with Uninvited at the Auckland Pride Festival 2019 in collaboration with Manukau Institute of Technology and is currently being performed at BATS Theatre as part of the Kia Mau festival.

Little Black Bitch is a haunting, funny and, at times, harrowing drama that follows a young man, Rangi, played competently by Rangihawe Kahu, as he helps a little, black dog (Toto, realised by a dynamically physical performance from Camille-Jayne Atkins) who is not quite what she seems. Toto has supposedly run away with the suicide note after her previous owner, Matiu, ended his own life.

Te Mete ensures that the subject matter is handled carefully by informing the audience that there is a counsellor in the audience and provision for discussion should the play prove too upsetting. [More


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Tino ātaahua tō mahi. He rawe!

Review by Grace Ahipene Hoet 05th Jun 2019

She’s Little, She’s Black and She’s a Bitch – Little Black Bitch.

I applaud the way Jason Te Mete’s thought-provoking Over my Dead Body: Little Black Bitch throws light upon a major topic that needs everyone’s attention. Winston Churchill coined the phrase ‘the Black Dog’ to symbolise his bouts of deep depression.

Suicide is real and it is not an option; suicide itself causes further depression: a very real and true statement experienced by many families throughout the country. Epidemic proportions of young males, with the majority of them Māori, are dying in their droves; statistics are ‘out the gate’ nationally and internationally. 

With Over My Dead Body: Little Black Bitch, Tuatara Collective and Manuaku Institute of Technology have done a great job of bringing suicide awareness to Wellington’s Little Black Box Theatre, BATS.

How do you fit a cast of 20 with an enormous storyline into BATS Heyday Dome space? You bring South Auckland down and you let it loose to share the story their way.

Jason Te Mete’s skill in this production is in the musicality and storytelling of the dream/vision sequences blended with Vivian Hosking-Aue’s striking choreography. The clever interweaving of Dr Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere’s Te Wheke Maori Health model into the story line educates and shares the oneness of the eight dimensions of total well-being and development.

It is such a rare but wonderful sight to see 20 performers working hard to achieve this. The standout work by the Ensemble Chorus is exciting to watch. Kapa Haka meets Pasifika movement meets Hip Hop Funk and Contemporary Dance, and blends with stunning voices and soundscapes to match each different genre, to evoke an insight into the lead character Rangi’s psyche.

Rangihawe Kahu’s gentle but moody performance as Rangi is subtle and believable, bringing a realism and sense of normality to the production.

Georgie Tuipulotu’s humorous fun-loving George is a unique foil to Rangi’s gentle, moody, irritable and out-of-character aggression. Tuipulotu has an arsenal of talent and is a pleasure to watch.  

Simi Kafoa’s TK, the fun-loving, light, humorous, comic relief to George, is great entertainment. It is nice to see George get a gentle slap down at times.

Rosalind Tui performs Aunty with great aplomb. Aunty grows on me, my first impression is ‘oh no, not another send up’, but delightfully, surprisingly she is genuinely real. Aunty gives unconditional love through tough teenage and adolescent times and her love and humour, as well as her flirtatious nature, makes her loveable. 

The many layers of the Little Black Dog are beautifully crafted by Camille-Jayne Atkins from her puppy dog eyes to her staunch wahine toa haka and her malevolent entrapping siren. Her mercurial movement tells its own story.

Massive potential is shown in this production and this reviewer wants it to gather momentum and grow. Further crafting is needed in the script, especially in the pace and prose of the storytelling, so that the text-based story matches the musical dream sequences.

However the many layers that this production provokes can be realised and played out at the Opera House and the Civic Theatres of this time. Every great production has a beginning, a wairua, a spirituality that evokes thoughts, emotions and memories for some, and messages for others. Little Black Bitch exemplifies much of this.

With subtle complexities Jason Te Mete creates harmonies for Rangi, George and TK with the poignantly chosen waiata, ‘Purea Nei’ developed by Hirini Melbourne after the suicide of a student at Waikato University. It shows the depth and intricacy of this little productions with its many tentacles.

Give them a bigger stage and a further developed script and they will rival West Side Story. Well done Jason & MIT. Tino ātaahua tō mahi. He rawe!

Congratulations to Hone Kouka and Miria George with their awesome Kia Mau Festival: a fantastic collection of Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Native American & Aboriginal Theatre; a feast of unique first nation stories. 


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