The Home of Māori Theatre Te Pou Comes Alive

Press Release: Te Pou

The Home of Māori Theatre Te Pou Comes Alive for the Return of Kōanga Festival

Te Pou Theatre presents
1 – 17 September 
In association with Going West Festival

Returning for a third year, Te Pou Theatre are preparing to throw open their doors for Kōanga Festival, running from Friday 1 – Sunday 17 September in a celebration of new stories and storytellers. Based in the home of Māori theatre in Auckland, this year’s programme will present a range of performances, showcases, workshops, readings, and social events, all held in Te Pou’s various spaces.

In a very special event, Kōanga Festival will present three nights of story, song, and verse with Rawiri Paratene in his first solo show, performing on Thursday 7 – Saturday 9 September. One of Aotearoa’s most loved communicators who is referred to by many as a national treasure; Peter Paka Paratene will offer a glimpse into Paratene’s life as an actor, activist, koro, and naughty taurekareka! Produced by Te Rēhia Theatre Company, join Rawiri in the development season of his one-man show for a whimsical, insightful, and ever joyous evening of sharing.

At the heart of the festival programme is Whakarongo Mai, two evenings of live readings of new works on Wednesday 6 & 13 September. Working with local and international dramaturgs, directors and actors, four Māori playwrights (soon to be announced) have been selected to workshop their original scripts throughout the Kōanga Festival programme, which will be performed in two double bill performances. Two new works will be read on each night, with the second night focusing on Te Reo works as part of Māori Language Week. Full details of this special programme are to be announced at an event next week, stay tuned for more information.

After a resoundingly successful programme last year, the Tuhi Tika emerging playwrights workshop returns to Kōanga in 2017, with award winning playwright Albert Belz leading the master class sessions. Split across two days, Belz will introduce beginner or mid-career playwrights to the essential chemistry and formulae that make up the playwrights cookbook. Bookings for the workshop are now open, and the sessions will also include Q&A forums with some of Auckland’s leading playwrights.

With a focus on community engagement and whānau, two free events will be held at Te Pou as part of the Kōanga programme. A staple of the festival is the Whānau Day, this year to be held on Sunday 10 September. A fun filled day, expect a carnival atmosphere with short shows for tamariki in Te Pou’s Tokomanawa Theatre, storytelling from around the globe in multiple languages, face painting, market stalls, children’s games and competitions, and of course some delicious kai! The very first session of the Kōanga programme will be Koroua and Kuia, a morning tea providing a chance for kaumatua from the community to celebrate the opening of the festival with entertainment and storytelling. Nominations for kaumatua to join this opening event on Friday 1 September are now open, offering a chance to acknowledge our elders and reflect on times past before the new stories of the festival are told.

The Kōanga Festival programme is rounded out with two theatre shows, each with only one performance at the festival. Opening Kōanga on Friday 1 September is the in-development showing of Noa Campbell’s new play Teka or Tika, which was first developed at the 2016 Kōanga Festival. Takirua will present their show Hinepau, adapting the classic children’s book by Gavin Bishop for a matinee youth theatre performance fully in Te Reo Māori on Saturday 2 September.

Named for the Te Reo word for Spring Time, Kōanga gathers together the community for a season of celebration, and a offers a chance to reinvigorate creativity after a detached winter. Heralded by the blossoming of the kōwhai and the call of the pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo) as it returns to our shores, spring is traditionally a time of joining together and combining efforts to plant for the next harvest. Kōanga Festival will prepare the ground and develop a fertile Auckland Māori Theatre creative economy outside of the busy Matariki season.

Embodying the literal meaning of their name ‘the support post’, Te Pou is the Auckland home of Māori theatre, providing space in New Lynn that fosters a safe and all-inclusive environment for development and performance of theatre works from their community. Built on Māori fundamentals including aroha, manaakitanga, whānau and respect, Te Pou – Auckland’s Māori Home of Theatre, has been created by the people for the people, and embraces all practitioners and audiences, to create a home base for Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Kōanga FESTIVAL 2017
Friday 1 – Sunday 17 September
Te Pou Theatre – Auckland’s Māori Home of Theatre

Koroua and Kuia 
Friday 1 September, 10am – 1pm
A warm and welcoming opening Morning Tea for kaumatua from the community with entertainment and storytelling. Contact info@tepoutheatre.nzif you’d like to nominate kaumatua join us. 
Free event

Teka or Tika
Friday 1 September, 7.30pm
An industry invited event

Saturday 2 September, 2pm
Performance in Te Reo Māori by youth theatre company Takirua, adapted from the classic children’s book by Gavin Bishop and first published in 1993.
Koha entry

Tuhi Tika – Emerging Playwrights Workshop with Albert Belz 
Sunday 3 & 17 September, 10am – 3pm
A two-day Master class programme presented by award winning playwright Albert Belz. Sessions will also include Q&A forums. To book your place in this workshop, please contact
$120 for the two-day workshop

Whakarongo Mai – Playwright Development Readings
Wednesday 6 & 13 September, 6.30pm
Readings of the works developed in the Kōanga Festival programme with local and international dramaturg work shopping. Double Bill performances with two new works on show each night. Join us for a kai and korero as we celebrate these new Māori playwrights.
$10, Tickets available from
A further release of the selected writers to come.
Information about this programme will be announced at an event at Te Pou next week, keep an eye on your inbox

Peter Paka Paratene – A night of story, song and verse with Rawiri Paratene
Saturday 2 September, 2pm
Join Rawiri Paratene for the premiere of his first solo show as he shares yarns, poetry, and song (some of his own, others of his choosing) in a whimsical and insightful but ever joyous performance.
$20 – 25, Tickets available from

Whānau Day 
Sunday 10 September, 10am – 4pm
A fun filled day celebrating storytelling from around the globe with theatre performances, story readings, face painting, market stalls, children’s games and competitions. Nau mai haere mai! Check out for the full schedule. 
Free event