I AM MĀORI; announcing first 3 plays

I AM MĀORI to include three playwrights from the NZQA prescribed playwrights list

We are pleased to confirm excerpts from playwrights Hone Kouka, Briar Grace- Smith and Albert Belz will be included in I AM MĀORI.

The programme will feature scenes from Hone Kouka’s Waiora, Briar Grace-Smith’s Ngā Pou Wāhine and Astroman by Albert Belz, which recently had twin premiers at The Court in Christchurch and the Melbourne Theatre Company.

In the 50-minute no-tech programme brought directly to your school by Y&H Tours (A Country of Two Halves, OUTLIERS), I AM MĀORI showcases extracts from plays by Māori playwrights.

We are thrilled to have Nancy Brunning as the director and dramaturg of what will be another excellent show for your students.

Nancy selected these scenes because they all deal with change – whether that change is bad, liberating or challenging. 

“As artists each of the writers have used pathos, debate and imagination to highlight how their protagonists experience the status quo, ask more of the world they live In and endeavour to understand what is real, to find release or to remember what is good about being Māori in an unforgiving New Zealand”

About the Plays and Playwrights

Hone Kouka’s Waiora is set in 1965 and tells the story of a Māori family, who have recently migrated to the South Island from the East Cape, preparing to celebrate a birthday with their Pakeha guests.

Hone (Ngati Porou, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Kahungunu) is an acclaimed Māori writer, winner of the Bruce Mason Award (1992) and multiple Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. He became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Contemporary Māori Theatre in June 2009.

A recent reviewer said of Waiora; “It is a beautifully written play that merges Greek tragedy with classic post-war plays like Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. It is funny, carefully observed, well-crafted and with a pleasingly old-fashioned feel.”

Ngā Pou Wāhine was Briar Grace-Smith’s first play and earned her the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 1995. The debut season was directed by Nancy Brunning and starred Rachel House.

Briar Grace-Smith (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Wai) ONZM has written for stage, television and film as well as short stories.

Ngā Pou Wāhine brings to life the journey of a young, working class wāhine, as she discovers her true spirit through the fabulous stories of her whānau and the dramatic history of her ancestor, Waiora.

The NZ Herald said of the play; “Briar Grace-Smith’s uniquely poetic vision achieves universal appeal through its vividly detailed focus on a particular rural community that presents itself like a hologram composed from an accumulation of luminous fragments.”

Astroman is a flashback to the 80s and tells the story of Jimmy, a gifted boy genius who escapes life’s pressures at the local Astrocade. With the help of his resourceful mother and the elderly Scottish owner, he battles bullies, stops space invaders and grabs an extra life.

“It’s an endearing, physical and nostalgic coming-of-age drama,” Stuff review, October 2018.

Albert Belz (Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi, Ngati Pokai) has been a professional writer for television, film and theatre since 2001. He has been nominated for and won several Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards during his career including Best New Zealand Play and Most Original Play amidst many others.

Book today

I AM MĀORI will be touring to schools around New Zealand from April 30th to June 21nd. 

Booking information and a proposed tour route are now available on the website.  

Booking enquiries can be made directly via programme administrator Natasha at [email protected] or 04 385 8227

A full list of excerpts will be announced at the start of Term 1, 2019