Te MANAWA (2017)

ASB Waterfront Theatre, 138 Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland

10/06/2017 - 11/06/2017

Matariki Festival 2017

Production Details


Choreography by Sophie Williams and Edmund Eramiha

Hawaiki TŪ


This season Hawaiki TŪ brings a new version of their renowned show Te Manawa which tells the love story of Koru and Te Mauri, two young lovers from opposing iwi, bound together by a negotiated truce.

Told through the medium of Haka Theatre which combines elements of Kapa Haka: song, rakau, poi, haka and waiata a ringa. As well as dance, the conventions of theatre and humour come into play to produce a unique and authentic Māori performance. This bilingual production is an action-packed celebration of aroha in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles and conflict. Through the telling of this story, renowned haka theatre company Hawaiki TŪ aims to inspire people to be proud of who they are and where they come from. Te Manawa is set during the season of Matariki (Māori New Year) and several symbolic themes are woven into the story – navigation, cultivation, celebration and the life cycle. Join Hawaiki TŪ to honour the significance of Matariki, and the many ways it is celebrated in Aotearoa.

Hawaiki TŪ are grateful for the gracious support of: Creative New Zealand,  The Auckland Theatre Company, Te Wananga o Aotearoa and the Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED)

Performances: 

  • Saturday 10th June – 1pm & 7pm
  • Sunday 11th June – 4pm

Tickets Available: www.atc.co.nz   $10 – $27


Rawiri Paratene
Tiataharoa Maipi
Ngakirikiri Kershaw
Costumes by Hera Tumai and Muna Lee
Light and sound by Ani – Piki Tuari
Beez and Kura Ngarino Watt


Kapa Haka theatre , Theatre , Dance-theatre ,


1 hour

Showcasing haka theatre

Review by Vivian Arthur Aue 12th Jun 2017

Extensively sharing quality Haka Theatre through ihi, wehi and wana to the world, Hawaiki Tu is in leadership to shape and mould the future of Maori performing arts in Aotearoa.

Walking into the buzzing atrium of the ASB Waterfront Theatre, I feel and I see the warm atmosphere (with rain pouring outside) occupied with a hearty vibe of whanau, te reo scattered everywhere and overall the contained feeling of aroha. Being of Polynesian descent, I feel right at home and I am ready and set to witness the mystical world of Te Manawa.

This is my first encounter witnessing the art form of Haka Theatre, so I am excited and ready to sit on the edge of my seat. The theatre is packed with tamariki, taitamariki, nga matua and whanau galore who also want an insight into Te Manawa. Tangaroa subtly plays in the background and murmurs of reo fill the sacred space.

The stage opens with four pou sculptures and a maunga surrounded by mist and pure darkness, integrating the essence of what is lying ahead. Let the ihi begin. I feel awed by the opening image of a mighty warrior who dominantly demands authority through his masculine movements and chanting. The orange light at the back is a distraction taking my focus but I force my concentration back to the warrior’s presence. Koro (Rawiri Paratene) appearswith a walking stick that shows his years of trials and tribulations but humour covers his pain and is a significant performance element in Te Manawa. I am surprised to hear laughter, fun mockery and modern day slang in the dialogue of Te Manawa but I love that decision.

Reds, nudes, browns – costumes are made up of natural fibres and beautifully fill the space (Hera Tumai and Muna Lee).

Trapped in the underworld, there is an image of all the powerful kaihaka forcefully under the hands of ancestors travelling in search of new found land. At this point in time goose bumps reveal themselves on my skin and I am struck by the performer’s commitment and natural performance energy. The rough ocean is represented by dancers clothed in blue and sails held by kaihaka who are staunch like the waka that brought tangata to this realm. The audience is in awe of the place this iwi has discovered. Subtle amber lights fill the stage and a mysterious soundscape (Ani – Piki Tuari) is in the air. Angelic voices are heard but I can hear the pain and anguish in their midst. Music by Beyonce and Jenifer Lopez is in the mix and connects well to the audience and the humour set in the show.

The audience of Te Manawa are blessed and gifted with the three performing arts disciplines of acting, singing and dancing but the dance choreography is paramount.  Well-polished, mentally strong and naturally beautiful choreography by Sophie Williams and Edmund Eramiha, brings me to contemplate how Te Manawa could become a full dance production. Because of the pure, raw energy and natural, grounded haka movements  (fused with contemporary dance technique) I would rather see Hawaiki Tu share future concepts through dance. The rakau section demonstrates unrelenting physical endurance and authentic performance commitment from the male kaihaka.

Tiataharoa Maipi and Ngakirikiri Kershaw play the roles of two lovers (Koru and Te Mauri) and are the leading roles in Te Manawa. Reality is brought on stage by this couple and I enjoy their natural connection and true love relationship. Scenes throughout Te Manawa are filled with spiritual energy that only one with indigenous heritage can understand and absorb. I feel the satisfying earthly power through my vessel.

To tackle acting, singing and dance successfully in one show is a challenge and to incorporate Kapa Haka is another. However, I commend Hawaiki Tu for serving the audience a hour-long show that is full of various themes such as authority, anger, hate and love.

By the conclusion of the show, I feel that the repeated sequencing e of ‘scene-black out-scene-black out’ hinders the continuity of themes and leaves me wanting more Kapa Haka, dance, singing and acting.

Beez and Kura Ngarino Watt have definitely created a significant pathway for the future of Maori performing arts. With further development and exploration of the various performing arts disciplines, I am certain Hawaiki Tu will be showcasing authentic Maori art at the most prestigious art festivals in the world.

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