Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere

Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Marae, Cable Street, Wellington

31/08/2023 - 31/08/2023

Production Details


The company of Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere:
Writer and Director: Jamie McCaskill

Taki Rua Productions


Taki Rua Productions is excited to present Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere in a highly engaging, 25-
minute piece of theatre in te reo Māori specially for pre school aged tamariki and their whānau.
Suitable for young children of all backgrounds, Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere is on tour from
4 September to 20 September 2023.

Te Papa Marae is hosting ‘Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere‘ on Thursday 31st of August, 10.30am and 12 noon. Come along to our two free whānau shows before we head off on tour.

Inspired by the beloved children’s story The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace with illustrations by
Robyn Kahukiwa, Jamie McCaskill’s original Te Reo Māori Season play has been shortened with under
5s in mind.

Performed completely in te reo Māori, Te Kuia me te Pūngāwerewere is the untold story of the Kuia
and her relationship with Pūpai the spider. While in the midst of their daily bickering, Kuia and Pūpai
are suddenly transported from their home in Paekākāriki into the world of spiders. There, they must
work together to save Spider World from the human world’s suburban sprawl.

The 3-week tour opens at Māoriland Hub in Ōtaki on 4 September before touring Te Papaioea
Palmerston North, Waipukurau, Paharakeke Flaxmere, Heretaunga Hastings (in partnership with
Toitoi for Te Wiki o te reo Māori), Ahuriri Napier, Wairoa and Tūranganui-a-Kiwa Gisborne.

Tickets are on sale now. Visit takirua.co.nz for our tour schedule and booking details.

Performance times are 10:00am and 11.30am for Kōhanga Reo, Early Childhood Education and childcare centres, and 1:00pm for general public.

Mon 04 Sept
Ōtaki
Māoriland Hub

Tues 05 Sept
Palmerston North
Community Leisure Centre

Weds 06 Sept
Palmerston North
Community Leisure Centre

Thurs 07 Sept
Waipukurau
Memorial Hall​

​Fri 08 Sept
Flaxmere
Cook Islands Community Centre

Mon 11 Sept
Hastings
Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre

Tues 12 Sept
Hastings
Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre

Weds 13 Sept
Napier
Greenmeadows East Hall

Thurs 14 Sept
Wairoa
Community Centre

Fri 15 Sept
Wairoa
Community Centre

Mon 18 Sept
Tairāwhiti
Patutahi Hall

Tues 19 Sept
Gisborne
Lawson Field Theatre

Weds 20 Sept
Gisborne
Lawson Field Theatre


Performers: Dylan Vailima Fa’atui, Mycah Keall, Amanda Noblett, Hosea Tuita’alili
Intern: Kaisa Fa’atui
Marketing Translator: Haumako Ltd
Set Designer: Wai Mihinui
Costume Designer: Charlotte Kelleher
Sound Designer: Maaka McGregor
Photographer: Philip Merry
Stage Manager: Chelsea Adams
Script Translator: Hōhepa Waitoa


Te Reo Māori , Theatre , Children’s , Family , Te Ao Māori ,


40 min (10 min intro/warm up + 30 min play)

Magical comedic fun easy to engage with

Review by Nitika Erueti-Satish 10th Sep 2023

Entering Rongomaraeroa at Te Papa Tongarewa, we are embraced with the warmth and manaaki of Takirua kaimahi who are guiding us to take our seats. Adults have the choice to either sit on the chairs or on the whāriki where our tamariki are seated.

The cast of Te Kuia me te Pūngawerewere are amongst the audience, fluttering around the kids, greeting them with mihimihi, interacting, laughing with and getting to know them. Such a great welcome and gentle whakatau creates a homely wholesome atmosphere. Before the story begins the cast go backstage to grab the costumes and familiarise the tamariki with them so they are aware of the scary-ish looking spider costumes. Its manaaki at its finest, as Tamariki are being encouraged to interact with the cast and costumes, connecting them deeper with the characters and letting them know that everything they are about to see is not meant to be scary or harm them. It’s important that children feel comfortable so they are able to receive the piece.

Written and directed by Jamie McCaskill, inspired by the beloved children’s story The Kuia and the Spider by Patricia Grace, this wholesome tale opens with a smiley Kuia (Amanda Noblett) singing and dancing as she greets the audience with a big “Kia Ora!”. She reminds me of the nannies on the marae who love their mokopuna and always put them first. As the show goes on, we see the Kuia arguing with a large spider, Pūpai (Hosea Tuita’alili), living in her kitchen, and they start to compete to see who is the best weaver.

While in the midst of their daily bickering, Pēpeke the grasshopper (Mycah Keall) witnesses this cheeky behaviour and transports the Kui and Pūpai from their home in Paekākāriki and into the realm of spiders where they are confronted by the villain of the pakiwaitara, Pūkino (Dylan Vailima Fa’atui), a pūngāwerewere who is on the hunt to capture them. There amongst the spiders, they must work together to save the habitat from human destruction.

Performed in Te Reo Māori, the show is full of gestures, movement and comedic fun that makes it so easy to engage with. The costumes, designed by Charlotte Kelleher, mimic Robyn Kahukiwa’s story book illustrations and Wai Mihinui’s stage set is designed to move along with each transition throughout the play. Maaka McGregor’s sound design completes the production values.

Even if you don’t understand te reo Māori, it is so easy to follow along. Everyone on the stage can also sing! The pipes on these performers are just as magical as the story. A must see in Māori theatre.  

[The Te Papa performance precedes a North Island tour – see Production Details.]

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