Ngāi Tahu and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra join forces for Tūmahana

By Te Ao - Māori News

Ngāi Tahu descendants have teamed up with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra to present a show about the iwi's creation story.

Tūmahana is a show about the creation story as told by Ngāi Tahu ancestor Matiaha Tiramorehu, who presented the iwi's first Treaty claim over its grievances with the Crown.

The story reveals the romance between Papatūānuku and Tangaroa, and the journey of Tāne who desperately searches to find clothes to adorn the naked body of his father, Ranginui, following his father's separation from his mother Papatūānuku.

Ranginui is known to Māori as the sky father and Papatūānuku the earth mother.

The show's artistic director, Juanita Hepi, says the idea to put the production together was inspired by wanting her children to know the creation story from the perspective of their Ngāi Tahu ancestors.

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, Hepi says at that time most of the Te Waipounamu teachers who taught the Māori creation story came from the North Island. So to share the story from their South Island iwi perspective was important for the new generation.

The show incorporates kapa haka, taonga pūoro, theatre, music by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, acrobatics and circus performances.

Tūmahana opens at the Christchurch Town Hall tomorrow. For more details, click here.