Modern Māori language hits theatre stage

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

An English play, "Mo and Jess Kill Susie," by Gary Henderson, has been translated into Māori, 'E kore a muri e hokia'. This initiative provides a platform for modern Māori language to be celebrated and heard in a theatrical setting.

It's been showcased all over the world in different languages, now it's being presented in Te Reo Māori.

Actress, Krystal-Lee Brown says, "This is such a great initiative, a play that highlights themes of 'mana wahine'. Also, this is the first time a Māori language play is being presented by an all-female cast."

Ani-Piki Tuari is the lead translator and also an actress in this play. She maintains that for Māori language to flourish, it needs to be heard across all contexts.

Ani-Piki Tuari says, "The goal, in translating this play into Māori, is for Māori language to be heard in this realm of theatre."

Translated by Ani-Piki Tuari, Hania Douglas, Te Aorere Pewhairangi and Tawaroa Kawana, it's a modern play that celebrates the use of modern Māori language.

Tuari says, "The majority of plays that we see today in Māori language are plays from old times, like Shakespeare or children's plays. For me personally, my goal in this field is to create Māori language plays that are related to us living in this present day and time."

Brown says, "Modern language is used throughout this entire play, it's something we're seeing more and more these days. For us it's about revitalising and elevating that type of language.

The show will premier at Te Pou Theatre in Auckland next week before heading north to Whangarei and Kaitaia.