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

2019 tour announcement – I AM MĀORI

Young & Hungry is pleased to present its theme for the 2019 tour;

I am Māori

Ordinary People changing the world

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 (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe) as the director and dramaturg of what will be another excellent show for your Drama and English students. 

Nancy is an actress, writer and director who has won awards in film and television and has made a major contribution to the growth of Māori arts, including acting as a dramaturg for some of New Zealand’s most celebrated Māori playwrights.

Nancy says she would aspire her storyteller super power to be matakite/seeing into the future.

“Ki te kahore he whakakitenga, ka ngaro te iwi – without foresight or vision the people will be lost”.

The programme will touch on topics such as family issues, politics and land rights, with a common thread being ordinary people doing extraordinary things to change their world, no matter who they are or their background. It is the connection to their culture that gives them great strength to fight their battles and find the hero within. 

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

The programme will feature at least one extract from a playwright on the NZQA prescribed reading list, with all extracts confirmed by early term 1, 2019.

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

Stay tuned for more information being released in the coming months.

Curriculum support

Along with the performance at your school, your booking includes a study guide with:

  • A master script
  • Playwright bios and play synopses
  • a digital filming of the work which can be accessed anytime throughout the year after the performance,
  • notes and information from the creative team,
  • and pre and post show activities and exercises tailored to exam requirements.

Y&H Tours (Formerly EnsembleImpact: A Country of Two Halves, OUTLIERS)

Y&H Tours takes New Zealand theatre to secondary schools, universities and youth theatre groups around the country. Created to support the drama curriculum, it showcases a themed collection of New Zealand playwrights, tells New Zealand stories, addresses issues that are relevant to New Zealand youth, and employs young New Zealand actors at the start of their professional careers.

Performed in traverse by four young professional actors, the show requires no lighting or sound set up. It is ideally suited to Drama students in years 10 -13 and has a 5-minute Q and A built into the programme.