Galatos, Auckland

03/10/2013 - 09/10/2013

Production Details

They stole the show in Everything is Ka Pai at the Auckland Arts Festival this year.  Now The Modern Māori Quartet are back and proud to present their first full-length show Ngā Bro E Whā at Galatos Live, in Auckland from October 3-9.

These four bros come together from different corners of Aotearoa and prepare to take a journey of a lifetime.  

Come & delve into our countries’ past and present with this group of insanely talented Māori performers.  Weaving a rich tapestry that draws from local music and stories, as well as integrating international hits throughout the ages, is Ngā Bro E Whā The Modern Māori Quartet’s premiere piece of multi-medium theatre and music unique to Aotearoa. 

Come join them for an evening of waiata, laughter and charm as they take you on a journey through the decades. 

The Modern Māori Quartet is made up of:
– Maaka Pohatu (Two Little Boys),
– Matariki Whatarau (Go Girls),
– James Tito (The Almighty Johnsons) and
– Matu Ngaropo (Korero Mai)
all graduates from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. 

Nga Bro E Whā is produced by Teresa Brown of Boss, directed by Rachel House (The Maori Troilus and Cressida & Hui), with musical direction by Tama Waipara (Fill Up The Silence Album).  

“My favourites…four sharp dressed men in suits and skinny ties singing harmonies and sending themselves and the music up just ever so…” – Radio NZ review of Everything is Ka Pai show at Auckland Arts Festival 2013

“Top class…inspiring kaupapa” – Rawiri Paratene NZOM 

Galatos Live, in Auckland
October 3-9 2013, 7pm  
Tickets from or 0800 327 484

Funny, tragic, full of hope and wisdom

Review by Forrest Denize 04th Oct 2013

The Modern Maori Quartet is exactly what it says it is: four young Maori fullas in sharp suits, harmonising exquisitely in a mixture of Te Reo and English. What I come away thinking about, however, is not how beautiful the melodies are, or how hilarious the jokes, but how poignantly it tells a story of the position of the Maori people and their language, Te Reo Maori, in New Zealand, Aotearoa, from the beginning of the twentieth century to now.  

The premise of the story is brilliant but simple. Three of the men have been waiting in that in-between place, the one before Hawaiki, but after death. Finally, the fourth member arrives, confused. The quartet is complete, and in order to make their way onwards they must perform the show and tell their truth. 

Each of the four performers has quite an equal role in the action. Guitar-strumming Maaka Pohatu centres the players nicely, although this does leave him with just one hand to use for gesture, so I am relieved that he pops the guitar away for his big moment.

James Tito is positively giggle-inducing as that classic, sleazy ladies’ man, and Matariki Whatarau pulls off the new addition with such sweet naiveté. The moment that really strikes me emotionally, however, is Matu Ngaropo’s performance as Koro, the war veteran. There is a tendency with the other characters to hold a moment past its prime, but Ngaropo’s raw, tender handling of a controversial situation has me almost in tears. 

Nancy Wijohn’s choreography is slick, seamlessly joining the classic barbershop quartet style with traditional Maori waiata actions and adding a contemporary twist. Complementing this with flair is musical director Tama Waipara.

Overall, the flow of music and dialogue is soothing as it rises and falls between fast humour and pensive emotion. The jovial spontaneity does seem a little forced at times – although this could be put down to first night nerves.

Each of these elements are enjoyable on their own, but director Rachel House ensures they all come together in a soothing rise and fall of fast humour and delicate emotion.

Far from being just a great night of song and dance as I had expected, this show is a solid journey with a deep wisdom about it. From World War II to asset sales, each bro has a story to tell about how the social position of Maori during their lifetime has affected both their life and death.

It’s funny, it’s tragic, and it’s full of hope for Te Reo Maori being claimed back as a language to be proud of and a culture to be embraced. 


Editor October 5th, 2013

This from Rachel Teaomaarama House:
Just want to say, because I am unashamedly biased, that Tweedie Waititi's song -E take tau- featured in the modern Maori quartets show 'Nga hau e' sung by Matu. Is exquisite. I'm also saying it because there is nothing in the programme which would tell you that. And while we're at it- there are 2 other beautiful original songs by brilliant talent. TamaWaipara's 'Cruise' and James William Tito's ' Haere ra'. These people have generously gifted these waiata to our show. Big ups, we love and appreciate you. Come see it- it's cute as. Galatos theatre 7pm until the 9th. Mauriora!

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