TE TIRA PUHA
30/07/2013 - 30/07/2013
02/09/2013 - 02/09/2013
07/09/2013 - 07/09/2013
23/08/2013 - 23/08/2013
27/07/2013 - 27/07/2013
This year’s Te Reo Māori Season production, Te Tira Puha (Puha Squadron) follows the story of three fearless tamariki as they adventure from their sleepy hometown to the city lights and sounds of Auckland and finally on to Cape Reinga.
Performed in te reo Māori and using a combination of live DJ’ing, traditional performance, dance and physical theatre our four performers will take you on a journey of friendship, love and loyalty. Filled with heart, humour and steeped in tikanga our whakaari will entertain tamariki whilst challenging them to explore the part they play in the future of Te Ao Māori.
Date & Times
Puha Squadron is travelling to kura throughout Aotearoa from the 29th of July to the 15th of September
You can also check out this mahi at our special Whanau / Community Performances in Auckland, Hastings, Hamilton, Dunedin & Invercargill:
Auckland – Saturday 27th of July at 1pm (Mangere Arts Centre)
Hastings – Tuesday 30th July at 7:00pm (Te Manga Maori Marae, Taradale)
Hamilton – Friday 23rd August at 7:00pm (Creative Waikato, Vero House Building, 127 Alexandra Street)
Dunedin – Monday 2nd September at 12:00pm (Te Tumu, Otago University)
Invercargill – Saturday 7th September at 7:00pm (Aparima College)
To book a performance for your kura or to find out more about our Whanau Performances please contact Co-Producer Esther Green, email@example.com | 027 521 9599
Taupunakohe Tocker, Maria Walker, Rob Williams, Mohi Critchley
Writer: Chris Molloy
Director/ Set Designer: Te Kohe Tuhaka
Sound Designer: Gerald Urquhart
Translator: Teina Moetara
Journey of discovery
Review by Rua McCallum 18th Sep 2013
The colourful, but minimalist stage set works well where it is positioned at Te Tumu (Otago University Māori Studies). Beneath the skylight, it radiates an atmosphere that is light and airy as are the characters in this touring show of Te Tira Puha. The compact and intimate setting is also reflected by the audience, whose numbers are disappointingly small, comprised mainly of Maori and bicultural theatre students. This, however, does not deter the performers in their task to entertain us and judging by the amount of laughter that fills the space they succeed enormously.
Four black and sometimes hooded figures stand before us, but we are made welcome with the actors – Taupunakohe Tocker, Maria Walker, Rob Williams and Mohi Critchley – orating their tribal pepeha, transitioned easily into an engaging warm up, with the audience participating with an interactive response. Then, the show begins.
For those seated in the front row, the performers’ energy and commitment is sometimes literally ‘in your face’ or sliding across the floor coming to rest ‘at your feet’. The action taking place is reminincent of a haka where the dancer (in this case the performer) dilates himself using what in the Maori worldview is ihi and wehi, to engender an awe inspiring response, i.e. wana.
These theatrical devices expand the performers energy making reality ‘larger than life’, which especially makes the super hero characteristics in the play more powerful. The actor’s talent is apparent at these moments.
I applaud the performers’ use of the whole stage space and the multiple ways in which three or four simple boxes can be used. Several props are employed from time to time including a bicycle, all cleverly concealed behind the staging. I think about Hermione’s bag in Harry Potter where objects larger than the bag can magically be pulled out, and wonder what else is hiding behind the set. This would be especially amazing for children who, I imagine, would marvel at this mystery, along with the sound effects which are seemlessly woven into the show.
Although aimed at a Māori-speaking school age audience, Puha Squadron, is not lost on the tauira and pukenga who support this Takirua production. Suited to its target audience, the simple storyline follows the real lives of its main characters who effortlessly morph back and forward into three super heros and a villinous witch-like Aunty. They are on a journey of discovery, a jouney that takes them to an ancient pohutukawa tree at Te Reinga. It’s there that they collectively find their ‘happy ever after’.
Although not the type of theatre I am used to, this is good family fun where I can easily put aside the serious aspects of life and be a big kid again; the type of super duper hero I’ve always been.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
He manawa reka; he tino whakangahau
Review by Jillian Tipene te tuhinga whakapae nei 27th Aug 2013
[English version here.]
He māringanui nōku, e rua kē āku mātakitakitanga o te whakaari reo Māori hou a Taki Rua, ko Te Tira Pūhā: ko tētahi kei tōna whakaaturanga hapori i Kirikiriroa, kei te whare tāpere o Creative Waikato; ko tētahi he mātakitaki tene kei tō mātou nei kura kaupapa, kei te taha o ngā tamariki reo Māori – kāore i tua atu! Ka whai tēnei whakaari i ētahi hoa tokotoru, kei Hōriwara (Horiville) e noho ana, i a rātou e rere tahi ana ki te rapu kiri mōhio mō rātou. 12 tau tō rātou pakeke, ā, tō ia tamaiti he taumahatanga, he āwangawanga. Ko tā Kōtiro, he pūmanawa atua tōna, engari kāore ia i te tino mārama ki ērā āhuatanga ōna, he ngākaurua nōna. E pōhēhē ana hoki ngā tākuta me tana whānau, he mate hinengaro kē tōna. He tamaiti auaha a Awa, he toki ki te tā pikitia, engari kāore tōna whānau e kite ana i ōna pūkenga. E ai ki a rātou, he moumou wā noa iho te mahi toi. He tamaiti hopohopo, tamaiti kōpīpī a Norm, kāhore tōna aroha mō Kōtiro e whākina atu ai. Heoi, ahakoa ngā āwangawanga o te tokotoru nei, he tipua pōhewa ō rātou, arā, ko Te Tira Pūhā, he rite ki ngā ‘ninja’. He rite tonu tā rātou pakanga ki a Kōkā Niwha, he rūruhi kino e whakamataku i te taone o Hōriwara. Nā tana ngākaunui ki te Tira rā pea, nā tētahi o ōna moemoeā rānei (kāore i tino mārama), ka toko ake te whakaaro ki a Kōtiro kia rere rātou ko āna hoa ki Te Rerenga Wairua, kei te pito rā anō o Te Ika a Māui. Kei reira tētahi pōhutukawa tawhito, ko Te Rākau Tipua, e tū ana. Kei a ia ngā whakautu ki ngā pātai katoa o te ao, nō reira, ka peka atu rātou ki a ia, ka whai māramatanga, ā, ka tau te mauri ki a rātou.
Ko ngā kaupapa matua o te whakaari nei: kia ngākau pono, kia manawa tītī, kia mahi ngātahi, me te āta rapu i te mātauranga kia tau tō mauri. Kei whea mai te āhei o te rōpū kiripuaki nei ki te mahi whakaari! He ātaahua, he ngangahau, he kaingākau hoki: arā, ko Taupunakohe Tocker tērā ko Kōtiro; ko Rob Walker ko Awa; ko Mohi Critchley ko Norm; ko Maria Walker ko te DJ, koia hoki ngā tini ‘kōkā’. Ko te tūāhuatanga tino pai rawa atu o te whakaaturanga nei ko ngā nekenekehanga whakangahau rawa, pēnei i ngā whawhai pōturi rawa, he rite ki ‘The Matrix’; i te whakaipotanga a Norm rāua ko Kōtiro; me ngā whakatinanatanga papai (pēnei i tā Maria Walker mō Kōkā Niwha me Kōkā Ātaahua eke paihikara Raleigh Chopper – pakaru mai te katakata!) Ko te raru kē, nā te kaha nekeneke, te tere whakaputa rānei, i ētahi wā ka ngaro ngā kōrero: ka horo i te kupu, ka pau rānei te hau o te kaikōrero.
Kia mārama hoki mātou, he whakamāoritanga tēnei o The Puha Squadron, he mea tito nā Chris Malloy. Ehara i te mea i tito reo Māori mai. Kāore taku amuamu ki te whakamāoritanga a Tēina Moetara – rere pai ana ngā kupu, he tōtika hoki ngā kīwaha, ngā kīrehu, hātekēhi hoki. Engari, he āwangawanga nōku ki te āhua o te tirohanga ki tō Kōtiro ‘matakitetanga’. Ki tāku nei whakapae, kei te mata kē o te kaupapa nei te kaitito e tārewa ana. Kāore ia i ruku hōhonu ki ngā āhuatanga e pā ana ki a Kōtiro, arā, ki te hātepetanga o tana hapori ki a ia, me te tātaritanga hē o ngā tākuta ki tōna nei ‘mate’. Mā tētahi atu whakaari pea ērā take hei whakatōmene??
He ngāwari, he whai kiko hoki te huinga ao i whakaritea e te kaiwhakahaere, e Te Kohe Tuhaka. He ngāwari kē te takatū ki ngā tini whare tāpere, kura mai, marae mai, hōro mai. Erangi, i tūpono tētahi raruraru ki ngā taputapu hangarau kei te whakaaturanga tuatahi. Nā te rōrahi o te reo me te āhua pūoro hoki, kua ngarongaro kē ngā kōrero whakataki, kāore te hunga mātakitaki i tino hopu. Ka tae ki te whakaaturanga ki Creative Waikato, kāore tērā take i tūpono, heoi, i mate ohorere te wahahiko o te DJ i waenganui pū o tana kōrero! He koi, he ngaio tāna mahi, kāore he tino kokotinga, kua piki kē te kaha o tōna reo, ā, ka haere tonu te whakaaturanga. He mahi mūrere hoki te whakamahi kāri pānui hei whakapākehā i ngā ingoa wāhi Māori e whakahua mai ana i roto i te whakaari. Te āhua nei, he mea hei āwhina i te hunga kāore e mōhio ana ki te reo. E pai ana tērā, engari he aha te take ka whakahua mai hoki ngā kupu Pākehā – hei tauira, ‘Sky Tower’ hei āta whakamārama i te ‘Pourewa Teitei’? Ka taea e ngā kiripuaki te whakamārama mai ā-tinana. Waihoki, he aha te take ka whakahau mai te DJ, ‘I say Tira, you say Pūhā!’? He ngāwari noa iho te whakamāori i aua kupu. Ina hoki, he whakaari reo Māori 100% tēnei, nē rā?
Heoi anō, atu i ērā paku amuamu, me pono au, he manawa reka, he tino whakangahau hoki te whakaari nei. Ki ahau nei, kua ea te whainga o Taki Rua i roto i Te Tira Pūhā, arā, kia whai wāhi ngā tāngata katoa o Aotearoa ki ngā whakaari reo Māori; me te whakamanawa hoki i a rātou kia arohatia te reo ake o Aotearoa. Nō reira, e mihi kau ana au ki a rātou. Ahakoa ngā tamariki reo Māori o te kura kaupapa, ahakoa ngā pakeke o te hapori i tae atu ki Creative Waikato, mutu kau ana te whakaari ka rongo i te kaha pakipaki ki a Taki Rua mā. I Creative Waikato hoki ētahi kaumātua nō Ahitereiria, hore kau tō rāua mōhio ki te reo Māori, engari he pārekareka, he mīharo tonu te kaupapa ki a rātou. Ka mutu, koia tāku e whakapae nei, kāore he take o te reo Pākehā hei whakamārama atu i te tino o te whakaari ātaahua nei: arā, he pūmanawa, he whakaritenga tō tēnā tangata, tō tēnā tangata. Mā te whakapono ki a koe anō me te kaha whai i tāu e hiahia ai, otirā, mā te manawa tītī, ka whakatinanahia ō wawata, ō moemoeā. Tīhe wā mauri ora!
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
Full of heart and highly entertaining
Review by Jillian Tipene 26th Aug 2013
[Te reo Māori version here.]
I am fortunate to see two performances in two days of Taki Rua’s latest te reo Māori production, Te Tira Pūhā: my ‘official’ viewing of the Hamilton community performance at Creative Waikato; and an impromptu viewing at our local kura kaupapa the day before, where I get to watch it alongside the tamariki in an immersion Māori environment – priceless!
The play follows three close friends from small-town Hōriwara (Horiville) as they undertake a journey of self-discovery together. All aged twelve years, they each have some form of taumahatanga or troubling issue, and doubts about what the future holds for them.
Kotiro has a gift she doesn’t understand and that the doctors and her whānau perceive as an illness; Awa’s vivid imagination and talent for drawing are not validated by his whānau, who view artistic endeavours as a waste of time; Norman (Norm) is afraid of his own shadow and can’t speak up for himself, particularly when it comes to his major crush on Kotiro.
What this trio lack in self-belief, however, their imaginary alter egos, the ninja-like ‘Te Tira Pūhā’, make up for, performing heroic feats to defeat the evil Kōkā Niwha who terrorises Hōriwara.
Kotiro – whether inspired by those imaginary heroes or by one of her dreams is not really clear – convinces her mates that they should take off on an adventure from Hōriwara to Te Rerenga Wairua (the leaping place of the spirits), at the northernmost tip of Aotearoa. There they will find the ancient pohutukawa Te Rākau Tipua, who has the answers to every question in the world, and ask for the guidance they need.
The key themes here are loyalty, courage, strength in unity, and a spiritual quest.
The story is played out with great exuberance by an engaging and committed ensemble cast: Taupunakohe Tocker as Kotiro; Rob Walker as Awa; Mohi Critchley as Norm; and Maria Walker as the DJ and above-mentioned ‘aunties’. The major strength of the performance is its often hilarious physical comedy, which includes slo-mo ‘Matrix’-y fight sequences, a sweet /goofy ‘courtship’ between Norm and Kotiro, and sharp characterisations (Maria Walker’s Kōkā Niwha and chopper-riding Aunty Ātaahua are crack-up).
Unfortunately, at times that physicality comes at the expense of enunciation and line endings are missing in action, swallowed up in a speedy or breathless delivery.
What we are watching is a Māori translation of Chris Molloy’s original script, as opposed to a play that was written in te reo. I have no problem with Teina Moetara’s idiomatic translation – for the most part it zips along and he uses kīwaha to great, mostly comic, effect – but I can’t help wondering about how the original treats Kotiro’s spiritual facility, her ‘matakitetanga’. In my view, it is treated very superficially. The issues around her social ostracisation and misdiagnosis deserve more depth. Or maybe that’s another play?
Director/designer Te Kohe Tuhaka’s staging is simple and effective, adapting well to diverse environments. Technological elements, however, are problematic. In an unfortunate technical blunder at my first viewing at the Kura, the voiceover recording used to ‘set the scene’ at the beginning of the play is obscured by a combination of too-loud volume, deep bass and a musical underscore, so that vital contextual information is not relayed. At the Creative Waikato venue that issue is resolved, but the DJ’s mic dies mid-performance; a technical hitch that is ably covered by clever ad-libbing from Maria Walker’s DJ, and the show goes on.
The crafty use of placards with place names in English or with English sub-titles, flashed at appropriate times by the DJ, is presumably for the benefit of non-Maori speaking audience members. All good. I am a bit confused, though, when extraneous English phrases pop up in the dialogue – ‘Sky Tower’ for example, to clarify ‘te Pourewa Teitei’, when the actors are more than capable of finding creative ways to clarify those references without resorting to English. Likewise, the DJ’s chant, “I say Tira, you say Pūhā,” could just as easily have been in te reo. This is, after all, a ‘100% Te Reo Māori’ production.
Those minor grumbles aside, Te Tira Pūhā is full of heart and highly entertaining. I think it delivers on its goal to make te reo Māori theatre accessible to, and encourage a sense of ownership of our national language for all New Zealanders.
Two strong commendations for this production come from its audiences: the rapturous reception it received from the tamariki of Tōku Māpihi Maurea Kura Kaupapa Māori, and the unreservedly warm response from the mostly adult audience who attended the community performance at Creative Waikato. The latter included glowing comments from an elderly Australian couple – no, they do not speak nor understand te reo, but thoroughly enjoyed the show nevertheless.
I take that as further evidence that English is not necessary to enhance the already strong, beautiful message of this play: that everyone has a gift, a purpose, a destiny, and you must believe in yourself and have the courage – he manawa tītī – to follow your dreams.
Tīhe wā mauri ora!
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer