Māori Romeo and Juliet rehearsals underway as part of Matariki celebrations

By Hone-Haunui Rapana

13 years ago the famous Shakespeare play, The Merchant of Venice, was translated into Te Reo Māori and now as part of the Matariki celebrations, Romeo & Juliet will be performed entirely in te reo Māori.

On and off set, the cast and crew of Romeo and Juliet are using the language of love.

Director, Reikura Kahi says, "Love is the main theme, we hope that the audience hear the love within the actors and in the script that was translated by Te Haumihiata Mason."

This play has captivated audiences from all over the world, throughout many generations, and the hope is this adaption wont be any different. 

Romeo and Juliet is only the beginning of what they hope will be the start of many more reo Māori plays to come.

"We hope this can continue for the next 10 years, with Te Haumihiata translating plays by Shakespeare. Next year we are doing A Mid Summers Night Dream," Kahi adds.

The Matariki Season of Shakespeare aims to be an annual event with the first performance scheduled for early July.