An Indigenous Australian theatre company and a Māori theatre company have come together for the first time to create a hilarious new production, Black Ties.
The story is centred around the wedding day of a Māori corporate hotshot Hera and an Indigenous Australian consultancy entrepreneur Kane, and the drama created between their two families.
Director and writer Tainui Tukiwaho says it is a hilarious and heart-warming immersive theatre experience where viewers are the guest of honour on the big day.
"Ko te tino kaupapa o tēnei mahi whakaari, he kōrero e pā ana ki ngā ao e rua e kī rā ngā ao o Aotearoa ngā, tangata taketake nō Aotearoa, ngā tāngata hoki nō Ahitereiria."
"At the heart of this drama is a story about two worlds of indigenous people from New Zealand and indigenous people from Australian."
During the production, the biggest mob of aunties, uncles and cousins from both sides of the ditch get worked up for the biggest, brownest wedding ever.
"I roto I tēnei whakaari, i te wā ka mātakitaki e koutou, ka mātaki koutou i te ao Māori mai ngā karu o tētahi ao katakata. Ehara ko tētahi ao tūturu. He ao rerekē anō."
"In this production, when you watch, you will see the Māori world through the eyes of humour. It is not a real world. It's a different world."
WATCH the trailer for Black Ties. Source/Auckland Festival (YouTube)
The show highlights issues around love and struggles that whānau go through.
"It's about how much fun our people have in the face of adversity," says Tukiwaho.
The bride, Hera, is played by Māori actress Tuakoi Ohia, who has also starred on the television series Ahikāroa. The groom, Kane, is played by Indigenous Australian actor Mark Coles Smith.
The production also includes a live band of party favourites and wedding classics.
As part of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, Black Ties will showcase at Shed 6 in Wellington from March 4-7 before coming to Auckland to show at the Aotea centre from March 11-15.