Te Reo Māori play in Northland looking for talent

By Tumamao Harawira

If you are an aspiring theatre actor in Northland, then theatre collective Ngā Hua Toi o Te Taitokerau is looking for you. The collective is putting on a reo Māori version of Hinemoa Baker's science fiction play, Pūkeko Tuawhā, and is holding auditions.

According to Noa Campbell, Ngā Hua Toi o Te Taitokerau aims to establish the North as a place for young aspiring actors wanting to live at home and still indulge in their passion.

Hinemoa Baker's Pūkeko IV was written in 1997 and translated into te reo.  The play Pukeko Tuawha is set in the Year 2999, and Māori are rangatira.

Tikanga Māori is the governing political and economic order, te reo Māori is mainstream and English is almost extinct.

Playwright Noa Campbell says as far as she knows, it's a first for Northland.

"This is a first for us Māori performers, to have a play in te reo to show the younger generation in the area."

Putting te reo Māori centre stage for science fiction play.

Giving actors a break

"We are looking for those who are really interested in theatre and those interested in telling our stories."

And she says while the play was translated into te reo, Ngā Hua Toi o Te Taitokerau called on the services of Kawiti Waetford to give the play a northern dialect.

For producer Jess Collins, the play represents more than just what people will see on stage. She says it's about giving up-and-coming actors a break.

"We really wanted to work with a tuakana/teina whakaaro and have experienced actors in with emerging actors so anyone 16+, however old you want to be, come and audition."

"We've got to have something here to pull people back, to make something happen, to have some resources and money. We need to have a support system and a network for people to come back."

Round 2 of auditions is on December 10.