October 17, 2023
Media release: Young Māori playwrights explore topics from UFOs to professional wrestling
Young Māori playwrights explore topics from UFOs to professional wrestling
An insight into professional wrestling, a teen struggling with his sexuality and a fascination with aliens, the world of commercialism, and a young urban Māori trying to connect with her culture are four diverse topics explored in a season of theatre aiming to foster future Māori theatre makers.
The Rangatahi Programme at Te Pou Theatre in Auckland will support four young Māori playwrights through professional mentorship to help them stage their work to be performed in November at Te Pou Theatre.
The aim is that each rangatahi work on their own shows, while also providing āwhina and support for the other productions so they can gain experience in collective art practices in a kaupapa Māori context.
The four plays are Wrestling with Wregret by Tyler Wilson-Kōkiri, Limited Time Only by Hone Nanda Taukiri, Concerning the UFO sighting at Mt Roskill, Auckland by Reon Bell, and Ngā Reta by Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana.
Wilson-Kōkiri is a professional wrestler and was inspired to write his play because of his love for wrestling.
A graduate of Toi Whakaari, Wilson-Kōkiri has been heavily involved with Te Pou Theatre as an actor but this is the first time he will be writing and staging his own work.
“Since I graduated from Toi Whakaari, Te Pou has nurtured and fostered my voice and have looked after and kept an eye on me,” he says.
“I am lucky to have such a positive experience as a theatre maker because of my relationship with Te Pou Theatre.”
He says most people associate Māori theatre with trauma and identity-focused plays and that the raft of different topics explored during the Rangatahi Season shows how Māori theatre is emerging.
“It’s important that the voices of rangatahi are coming through,” he says.
Te Pou Theatre producer, Maioha Allen, says the Rangatahi Season is giving the future storytellers of Māori theatre a platform to develop their craft.
“The importance of supporting our rangatahi, our emerging artist is to ensure toi Māori will always have a place and vehicle to convey and portray stories by Māori, for Māori,” he says.
“Young Māori voices need to be heard, and we want to be able to support them on their journey.”
The Rangatahi Season will run from 7th November – 2nd December at Te Pou Theatre in Auckland.
For more information about the full program, visit: www.tepoutheatre.nz