Strange Resting Places - AOTNZ

Various venues - on tour, New Zealand wide

01/06/2011 - 01/07/2011

Production Details

Written by Paolo Rotondo and Rob Makaraka

Taki Rua Producitons

Italy World War II – 1944. A young Maori solder from the 28th Māori Battalion sets out to steal food. An Italian deserter from the Fascist army takes cover in a stable. Both find themselves in a potentially deadly stand-off, but with Germans just outside, their survival depends on co-operation.

Originally conceived and written by Paolo Rotondo and Rob Makaraka, who blend their own family histories with those of strangers, Strange Resting Places shines a light on New Zealand’s wartime history, exploring cultural differences to comic effect, as well as the four universals shared with Italians:- the love of family, food, seduction and song!

Live music intertwines with drama and comedy in three languages – Māori, English and Italian – in this critically acclaimed Taki Rua production which has toured internationally to festivals in London, Singapore, Australia, and American Samoa, as well as Aotearoa. From the sharing of coffee in the prologue, to the serving of wine and food at the end of each performance, the chemistry between the performers extends outwards to include the audience. Strange Resting Places is inclusive theatre at its best. See itinerary below. 

For more information, see, 


‘A spellbinding little gem of a show that will have you laughing a lot and crying just a little……Strange Resting Places is intimate theatre at its best that would be warmly received in a piazza, a marae and anywhere in between. THE HERALD (Auckland)

‘There is a great mix of physical theatre, narrative and singing, the production moving deftly from moments of broad comedy to brutal reality, from the hilariously funny to the poignantly tragic.’ DOMINION POST (Wellington)

‘Strange Resting Places is as piquant a piece of ‘celebratory’ theatre as you may ever hope to experience anywhere. While ‘celebration’ may seem a strange quality to bring to a war story, it turns out to be an inspired way to make truly moving theatre.’ WWW.THEATREVIEW.ORG.NZ  (New Zealand)

‘The stripped-down set of army supplies turns out to provide a rich landscape for the narration of this tale, although that’s nothing compared to the actors’ abilities to conjure up this forgotten world through voice, music and movement’’ WWW.INKPOTREVIEWS.COM  (Singapore)


Wednesday 1 June 7pm – Opotiki
Opotiki College Hall
$12 Book: Opotiki College Office

Thursday 2 June 7.30pm – Whakatane
Little Theatre
$15 waged; $10 unwaged; RSA men and Maori Battalion Free
Book: The Good Life

Friday 3 June 7.30pm – Putaruru
The Plaza Theatre
Adult $20; Senior concession $15; Student under 18 $10
Book: Plaza Box Office, Information Centre,
Tokoroa Information Centre; Fraser’s bookshop Matamata.
Also available online with Eventfinder 

Saturday 4 June 8pm – Onewhero
OSPA Theatre
$20 Book: River Traders Tuakau

Monday 6 June 7.30pm – Stewart Island
Community Centre  
$15 door sales only

Wednesday 8 June 7pm – Riverton
Riverton Arts Centre
Members $25; non members $30
Book: Riverton Arts Centre

Friday 10 June 8pm – Mosgiel
Fire Station Theatre
$25 Book: Paper Plus Mosgiel or Fire Station Theatre 489 3008

Saturday 11 June 7.30pm – Tarras
Tarras Hall
Adults $25; SuperGold $20; Student/child $15
Book: Cromwell Isite; Tarras Store

Sunday 12 June 7pm – Arrowtown
Athenaeum Hall
$20 Book: Lakes District Museum

Tuesday 14 June 7.30pm – Twizel
Events Centre
$20 Book: Twizel Promotion Office, Market Place Twizel

Wednesday 15 June 7.30pm – Fairlie
Mackenzie Community Theatre
$20 Book: Heartlands Fairlie Resource Centre

Thursday 16 June 7.30pm – Geraldine
Lodge Theatre
Adults $20; Students $15; children under 12 free
Book: Tresjoli Giftware 03 693 9339

Friday 17 June 7.30pm – Ashburton
Auditorium Ashburton Trust Event Centre
$20; $30 for two; $40.50 for three; $50 for four

Sunday 19 June 7.30pm – Takaka
The Playhouse.
$20 pre booked $25 at door.
Book: Paradise Entertainment

Wednesday 22 June 7.30pm – Opunake
Sandfords Event Centre
$20 Book: Pastimes or any Egmont Arts Council member

Tuesday 28 June 8pm – Opononi
Memorial Hall
$15 on the door

Thursday 30 June 7.30pm – Kerikeri
Turner Centre
$25; Concession $20
Book: or 09 407 0260

Friday 1 July 7.30pm – Whangarei
Old Library
$20 Book: Old Library  


Maaka Pohatu –ActorNgai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Apa.
Graduate of Toi Whakaari, Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree (Acting) 2005.
Theatre credits include: Penumbra (Toi Whakaari 2003) The Merchant of Venice (Centrepoint 2005) and Flintllock Musket (The Edge 2009).
Film and TV credits include: Bad Dates (Grant LaHood), Until Proven Innocent (Peter Burger) and most recently the NZ feature film Two Little Boys, directed / written by Rob and Duncan Sarkies.

Rob Mokaraka Writer/ActorNgāpuhi/ Ngai Tuhoe 
Studied at Northland Polytechnic 1995-1996.
Chapman Tripp Theatre Award winner for: Insalt (Seeyd Theatre Company) Most Original Production 2001; Have Car Will Travel (Taki Rua Productions) Best Male New Comer 2001; Strange Resting Places (Taki Rua Productions) Outstanding New Playwrights 2007.
Theatre credits include: Questions (Bats Theatre 1999), Untold Tales of Maui (Taki Rua Productions 2005) Goldie (Auckland Theatre Company 2005), Nga Tangata Toa (Taki Rua Productions 2007)
Screen Credits Include: Tama Tu – Short film, written & directed by Taika Waititi (Academy Award Nominee); Bride Flight – Feature Film directed by Ben Somborgart (Academy Award Nominee); Mataku – TV directed By Peter Burger; The Freezer – Short film written & directed by Paolo Rotondo.

Barnie DuncanActor
Barnie is the lead singer and plays guitar with The Hot Grits and History of Snakes.
Theatre credits include Constantinople, The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill, Dog Sees God, Based on Auckland, Happy Hour for Miserable Children and The Magic Chicken.
Film and television credits include Show of Hands, Broken, Labou, Bliss, Eruption, The Jacquie Brown Diaries, Outrageous Fortune, Legend of the Seeker and Amazing Extraordinary Friends.  

Taki Rua Productions
Taki Rua Productions is Aotearoa / New Zealand’s national Māori theatre company. Taki Rua produces Māori theatre works that tour to diverse audiences throughout Aotearoa and the world.

Arts On Tour New Zealand
Arts On Tour New Zealand (AOTNZ) organises tours of outstanding New Zealand performers to rural and smaller centres in New Zealand. The trust receives funding from Creative New Zealand and liaises with local arts councils, repertory theatres and community groups to bring the best of musical and other talent to country districts.  

Maaka Pohatu – ActorNgai Tamanuhiri, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Apa 
Rob Mokaraka Writer/ActorNgāpuhi/ Ngai Tuhoe  
Barnie DuncanActor  

Theatre , Te Ao Māori ,

Utterly captivating

Review by Nadene Milne 15th Jun 2011

As we settled into our places in the over heated Arrowtown Community Hall, the almost exclusively Pakeha ‘Narrowtown’ audience, were given shots of black coffee and Amaretto biscuits by the three cast members of Strange Resting Places.

Based in a barn near Italy’s Cassino during World War II, the play initially finds Salvatori (Barnie Duncan), an Italian deserter from the fascist army who is desperate to find his wife and child, confronting Anaru (Maaka Pohatu), an East Coast Māori soldier desperately seeking an alternative to the Battalion’s standard diet of corned beef.  

Rob Mokaraka (co-writer with Paolo Rotondo) plays the Catholic Hemaara from Punguru whose cultural adventures include being billeted with the Fornari family in Napoli, the mother and daughter – Adriana – deliciously manifested by Duncan.

The humorous and poignant banter between the two Māori Battalion soldiers and the interactions with the Italian ‘natives’ insightfully highlight the tragedy, humanity and inhumanity of war. From start to finish the Arrowtown audience was utterly captivated by the individual and collective performances of these three gifted actors.

The humble acoustic guitar, a poi, army issue blankets and a couple of 1940s dresses – one very big the other tiny – were some of the clever and incredibly expressive props that were used to great effect during the performance.


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