Energy Events Centre Rotorua, Queens Drive, Rotorua

06/06/2019 - 07/06/2019

Clarence Street Theatre, Hamilton

27/05/2019 - 28/05/2019

Shed 6, Queens Wharf, Wellington

25/06/2022 - 25/06/2022

Production Details

Creator and puppet designer: Sarah Burren
Composer/musical director/co Creative Director: Midge Perez

Little Green Man Productions

Only 30 seconds gone and all of us are captivated, spellbound and lapping it up.” — ALAN SCOTT (2018 THEATREVIEW, when the title was Heaven and Earth – Rangi and Papa.)


A giant scale puppet show for 2+ year olds with magical glow-in-the-dark characters from Māori myth and legend.  This innovative, cutting edge new concept features 45 glow-in-the-dark puppets under ultraviolet light in a black box theatre environment.  The show tells a delightful story of the Matariki stars as they prepare for Te Tau Hou (the Māori New Year) and the journey of the smallest star, Waipuna-a-Rangi.

Rich in Te Reo Māori, it’s an upbeat show that has the audience buzzing from the onset.This masterful 40-minute show is underpinned by catchy music that engages the audience immediately, followed by a Q and A session afterwards for our tamariki. There’s an abundance of educational content to take back to the classroom.


The production was created by Sarah Burren who collaborated with Midge Perez on the style and genre of show. They have an impressive history of having worked on twenty children’s shows together. Composer/musical director, Midge Perez is one of the show’s Creative Directors along with Sarah Burren and Chantelle Brader. Puppet designer and creator, Sarah Burren has been involved in the concept, design and production of over a hundred stage shows and live events both in New Zealand and internationally.

Recognising the significance of Matariki to many New Zealanders, they sought the guidance and approval of kaumatua Dr Haare Williams (amorangi in arts, culture and education) to create an authentic Matariki story that would ignite the spirit and pride of our tamariki.

Script and musical score were then taken to the next level by the choreographer and performers from cultural and ancestral backgrounds that span Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Ngā Puhi, Tainui, and Maniapoto iwi and the islands of Samoa. They are graduate students and tutors from South Auckland’s MIT, and Otara Music Arts Centre whose combined storytelling, voice, instrumental, dance and puppetry skills bring this Matariki story to life and make it soar.


The show has been specifically designed to be toured. All 45 puppets are packed down to fit in a 5 seater hatchback, including the 5 metre long taniwha!

In 2019, 68 shows will be staged in 18 venues from May 27th to July 13th.

15,000+ children saw this extraordinary show in 2017/18.

800+ schools will hear about it in 2019.

25,000+ children will see it in 2019. Don’t miss out… it’s literally legendary!

“Teachers teach. But good teachers lead us into the inner, wilder places of the mind. Give our kids the Maui spark that will lift them and, once in flight, let them soar. Matariki does that by giving our tamariki a fresh beginning by tracking to where they’ve come from – by remembering their ancestors.

“I am delighted to support this programme which allows us to celebrate our own corner of Earth here in Aotearoa New Zealand with our own iconic narratives, heroes and deities.” — DR HAARE WILLIAMS MNZM QCM JP

2019 TOUR

HAMILTON May 27-28
Clarence Street Theatre
May 27th & 28th @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$10.50pp (child or adult)

Whakatane Little Theatre
May 29th – 31st @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$10.50pp (child or adult)

Memorial War Theatre
June 4th @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at (for up to 10 tickets)
OR call 0800 224-224 for Group Bookings OR Schools’ Invoicing
$10.50pp (child or adult)

ROTORUA June 6-7
Energy Events Centre
June 6th & 7th @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 970 9745
$10.50pp (child or adult)

TAUPO June 10-11
Great Lake Centre
June 10th & 11th @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$10.50pp (child or adult)

Whanganui Opera House
June 12th @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$10.50pp (child or adult)

Theatre Royal, TSB Showplace
June 13th @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings please call (09) 307-5058
$12.50pp (child or adult) + $2 venue fee

Regent on Broadway
June 14th @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at (for up to 10 tickets)
OR call 0800 224-224 for Group Bookings
OR for Schools’ Invoicing purchase direct from venue
$10.50pp (child or adult)


WELLINGTON June 17 – 19
Soundings Theatre, Te Papa
June 17th – 19th @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$12.50pp (child or adult)

NELSON June 20
Theatre Royal
June 20th @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at (for up to 10 tickets)
OR call 0800 224-224 for Group Bookings
OR purchase direct from the venue (03) 548-3840
$12.50pp (child or adult)

AUCKLAND – Papakura
June 26 – 27

Hawkins Theatre
June 26th & 27th @ 10am and 11.30am daily
Book at (for up to 20 tickets)
OR for Group Bookings OR Schools’ Invoicing call (09) 297-7712
$10.50pp (child or adult)

AUCKLAND – Freemans Bay
July 3

Dorothy Winstone Theatre
July 3rd @ 10am and 11.30am
Book at
or 0800 TICKETEK (842-538)
OR for Group Bookings call (09) 307-5058
$12.50pp (child or adult)

AUCKLAND – Western Springs
July 8-13 (first holiday week)
TAPAC (opposite Auckland Zoo/MOTAT)
July 8th – 13th x 2 shows daily @ 11am and 1pm
Book at (up to 20 tickets)
OR for Group Bookings please call (09) 845-0295
$15.50pp (child or adult)

AUCKLAND – Henderson
July 1-2

Venue TBC
July 1st & 2nd @ 10am and 11.30am daily
To book email:
$10.50pp (child or adult)

Performers from Ngāti Awa, Tūhoe, Ngā Puhi, Tainui, and Maniapoto iwi and the islands of Samoa

Kaumatua Dr Haare Williams

Theatre , Puppetry , Musical ,

Strong performers and great bones

Review by Deborah Rea with Luna Rama and Dev Rama 27th Jun 2022

The Matariki Glow Show tells the story of te kāhui whetū o Matariki (the star cluster/whānau of Matariki) as they gather to light up the skies for te tau hou Māori. Our hero is the smallest star, Waipuna-a-rangi, who becomes lost and must find her way home to her mother and sisters. The story is told through the use of glowing puppets via completely unseen puppeteers.

The Matariki Glow Show features strong, endearing and funny character work by a gifted team: Bella Robertson, Daedae Tekoronga-Waka, Georgie Tuipulotu, Hamish Davies and Te Keepa Aria.

As well as the attractions of the universe, we are offered a beautiful underwater world featuring wheke, ika, angel fish, mako and even stingray! There’s a small visit on land, as well with butterflies, kiwi and glow worms – Ooo! Was that kōtuku?

The music features a wonderful original soundtrack that my young ones demanded that I try to track down as soon as we got back to the car. The only exception, for me, would be the song ‘I Do Everything Better Than You’ whose message, as well as the scene itself, seems out of place with the show.

The UV glow puppets are simple yet beautiful, although the design given to them varies widely. Surprisingly, the ‘star’ of the show, Waipuna, gets the least attention in the artistic department. The show advertises them as “giant-scale” which they aren’t but their personalities are.

While the glow puppets are beautiful and fun, they do lack the animation required to really be classified as puppets. From my memory, only a few (Satellite, Tangaroa, Jellyfish and one or two others) have animated parts. Really, we’re watching gorgeous objects/artworks being ‘puppeted’. Thus, there’s very little exchange in energy between puppet and audience member. Some animation to the eyes and eyelids would have a huge impact on the magic of the show and on audience connection. It’s a lot to ask any audience to fully give their attention to such a show for an hour – especially kids – but we want to.

At the end of the show, the puppeteers take the stage to introduce themselves. I would find this more useful at the top of the show. The kids would feel a lot more comfortable in the dark, knowing how everything works, and then they would enjoy playing a game of match the puppet to the puppeteer throughout.

Also in regards to connection, while director Rokalani Lavea has his cast joyfully telling the story together, the audience is a little unclear.

In the moana, Waipuna breaks the fourth wall suddenly, asking for some assistance from the audience but, we’re 15 minutes in already and the audience is confused about what’s required of us without any prior setup so Waipuna is left to find her own hiding spot. I actually thought the puppeteers were working with a voice-over track until this point. We’re next nudged to “help” at 45 minutes and the adults are ready to nudge the kids to call out this time.

After the adventure, and after giving our all in a chant to get Waipuna home, we are denied a scene of her home-coming, denied seeing Matariki and her sister Whetu welcome their littlest star home. Instead, we’re given the news of her successful return and thus the return of universal balance via narration. It’s a bit of a shame but we do get another awesome song from the Matariki 7.

The music composed by musical director Midge Perez, and arranged and mastered by Bradley Busby and Dez Brown, is a real knockout element of The Matariki Glow Show. Dramaturgy is by Midge Perez who collaborated with creator Sarah Burren on the style and genre of show.*

While very slightly rough around the edges, The Matariki Glow Show has strong performers and great bones. The puppeteers themselves are clearly a lot of fun and it’s easy to see they would thrive off playing with their audience so let’s bring them together. The tiny kinks would be easily ironed out in an hour or so of simple redirection.

Wellington Venues, can you please get some signage or a flag or something? Shed 6 is so impossible to find. We had late arrivals streaming throughout – right to 40 minutes into the show. It’s always been a problem. My kids could make you something tomorrow if you need it! Here’s a knock up: SHED 6

Luna Indali Rama (aged 5 BUT 6 IN FOUR DAYS!!!):

The little star was playing hide and seek with her sister and then she fell out of the sky and she fell into the ocean and she saw lots of beautiful creatures. She was friends with a taniwha. The taniwha tried to help her to get home in the sky. She had to get home fast because everything in the world was funny because one of the Matariki stars was missing. The kiwi was going moo. The fish was going woof and the glow worm was going meow.

The other stars in the sky felt sick when she was gone. The mother star said “somethings not right”. The little star’s sister went to find her. She tried to scare the taniwha away.

The wind took them home and everything was right again.

I liked the songs that the stars sang. I liked when the star was trying to help the satellite. His aerial was broken. My favorite puppets were the taniwha and the stingray. After the show I went to Capital E and they had stingray costumes to play with. I played ‘stingrays in the water’ with my brother.

In the space scene they needed some planets. I think the star puppets could have been even more beautiful like the other puppets were.

This was a cool show.

Dev Rama (aged 3, it’s not my birthday until the end of the year):

I like the glow worm. I liked the glow worm. Did you put that I liked the glow worm? Daddy, there was a glow worm in the show and I liked it. I liked the stars and the little one needed to hide from the shark because he was going to eat her. He ate her because he thought she was a starfish but she was actually a star. I helped them. I called out something to help them get home.

I didn’t see the guys wearing black suits who made the puppets talk. I liked the Mako. Tangaroa is the star’s uncle. I was scared of the shark because I was worried that he was eating the star but that was just pretend. I liked the jellyfish and the moon and the songs.

I like cuddling with my mumma during the show. Love from Dev.. (did you put two dots after ‘Dev’?)

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*See more about the Show and Team on the Glow Show website.


Make a comment

Wonderful story brought to life through puppetry

Review by Te Ao Tahana-Pragnell 10th Jun 2019

The stars shine in the winter sky on a brisk Thursday night as we enter the Rotorua Energy Events Centre to watch The Matariki Glow Show. It is about the celebration of the Maori New Year where the Pleiades star cluster (Matariki) gather together to practice for their big show.

Waipunarangi, the smallest of the stars, is teased by her siblings as she tries to prove that she can find the best hiding place. Trying to help a satellite, she gets struck and sent down to earth into the deep sea. The weird and wonderful creatures that Waipunarangi encounters are bright and colourful as they move, twist, flutter and twirl across the stage.

Haututu the Taniwha is a crowd favourite as he tries to help Waipunarangi get home. Created by Sarah Burren with a cast of four actors, the 45 minute show brings this wonderful story to life through the art of puppetry. 

For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


Make a comment

A fun and entertaining feast

Review by Cate Prestidge 29th May 2019

We join hundreds of excited tamariki outside Clarence St Theatre, and admire the teachers as they patiently herd them through the doors and into their seats. In the lead up to the show excitement starts building around the room with shouts, squeals and in the case of the two wee lads in front of us, a spot of robot-wars hitting.

There’s so much anticipation that when the lights finally go down, a high pitched chatter starts and doesn’t stop for about 5 minutes as the children marvel at the dark, gasp at the colourful creatures dancing across the stage and shriek at the absolute wonder of it all. As a result, I may have missed some of the narrative exposition, but for many of the children, this will be their first experience of theatre and it is actually quite lovely to hear voices call out as the first of the puppets fly in: “A moon!” “Butterfly!” “Sun!”

We start by meeting te kahui whetu o Matariki as they gather to prepare for Te Tau Hou (Maori New Year) and follow the story of the youngest star, little Waipuna-a-Rangi, who takes on a big adventure from space, land and sea. The underwater scene captivates our audience and a chorus of names starts again as the kids identify each animal drifting across the stage: “Fish!” “Stingray!” “Sea horse!” “Turtle!’ “Another fish!”

Devised by well-known theatre designer Sarah Burren, the magic of the show for me is in the skilful movement of her beautiful hand-made puppets as they fly, twist and turn, propelled by the energy, voices and physicality of the performers. I can’t believe there are just four extraordinary cast members – Tyler Wilson-Kokiri, Bella Robertson, Rueben Hohepa Butler and Rickylee Russell-Waipuka – who act and manipulate over 50 different puppets ranging from flat painted panels to fabric constructions in 3D. The sheer agility of the cast with the rapid changes of character and voice is terrific.

The dialogue is primarily in te reo Māori, with many familiar words as well as some new ones. Audience participation is welcome, although the kids don’t quite get the cues at first so may need more encouragement leading into it. Likewise at the end, the story resolves and the puppets come on musical-style for their bows but the little ones on our day don’t seem to recognize it is the end so maybe also need a musical or verbal cue. 

The show lasts about 40 minutes before the performers come out for a Q&A with the children. The first question come from the back of the theatre, and takes more of the form of a critique.
“I saw your face”
“Did you really?”
(I have to say I didn’t, and I was looking!)

Afterwards I ask one of the kids who their favourite puppet was. After a bit of thought he says, “The taniwha,” and I agree.  Haututu, a friendly Taniwha, with all his concertina twists and turns, is a highlight. If Matariki Glow Show is a small child’s first experience of theatre, then they will be very lucky. A fun and entertaining feast with a wonderful contemporary story of Aotearoa. 


Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council
Waiematā Local Board logo