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Matariki - - Maori New Year at The PumpHouse

Bi-Cultural Artistic Traditions Blend Into A New Form

The PumpHouse Theatre’s observance of Matariki this year will feature Hoki Mai Tama Ma, a developmental theatre piece by local thespian Regan Taylor (Ngati Kahungunu ki Tamakinui a rua) and fellow actor/writer/director Tainui Tukiwaho (Te Arawa Tuhoe).  Some may remember Tainui in the title role of Billy T James in the 2011 biopic Billy.

Regan Taylor has been a frequent performer at The PumpHouse; he co-wrote and performed last year’s Matariki-Oke, which was the theatre’s debut Matariki event. This year he and Tainui have delved into European theatrical archetypes, which they have fused with the Maori traditional art form of Ta Moko (tattoo), to create Hoki Mai Tama Ma, a new work using masks inspired by the early European theatre form known as Commedia Dell’Arte.

Commedia Dell'Arte (comedy of artists) evolved from the streets and market places of the early Italian Renaissance, although its roots can be traced as far back as Ancient Greek and Roman Theatre. Street performers, wearing masks with exaggerated comic features to draw attention to themselves, eventually teamed with troupes of actors often with travelling stages. By the mid 16th century Commedia had become a performance genre in its own right. Mr Punch or Pulcinella from Punch and Judy, Columbine and Harlequin are probably the most famous characters from the Commedia cast.

The long tradition of ‘masque’ (performances with masks) was also enjoyed by medieval citizenry by way of Masquerade Balls and costumed courtly events. The most famous legacy of this mask tradition is the annual Venice Carnivale that originated in the 12th century and is still a popular event and a major tourist attraction.
Research into this European art form led Regan Taylor and Tainui Tukiwaho to tell a story, set in a Marae at Maori New Year/Matariki, morphing Commedia and masque with the Ancient Polynesian tradition of tattoo, specifically the Ta Moko of New Zealand Maori. The stories of various characters on the Marae will be directed by Tukiwaho and performed by Taylor using masks and will celebrate the humour and cultural whakapapa of  their ancestors from both hemispheres of the Earth.
Matariki is both the name of the Pleiades star cluster and also of the season of its rising in late May or early June. In traditional times, Matariki was a season to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. Lake Pupuke is one of the most historically significant locations in Takapuna. For pre-contact Maori and during the 19th century it was Pupukemoana, a taonga with a sacred life force and a resource crucial to local village life. It’s easy to imagine the locals of centuries past observing their Matariki celebrations by the lake in the hope of a healthy harvest of kumara, making The PumpHouse a fitting location for the celebration of this year’s Matariki, Maori New Year.  Hoki Mai Tama Ma will be supported in performance by the Birkdale Primary School Kapa Haka group.

Dracula, Baby -  Fang-tastic musical comedy
When the chorus opens the show singing "Transylvania after dark - Rather grim and rather ghoulish! Walking by yourself is foolish...", we know that we're in for an entertaining, fiendish evening.
Pinehurst Senior College presents Dracula, Baby - a musical comedy. Count Dracula sets out for England, intending to make the beautiful Lucy his 93rd bride and her future looks pretty anaemic.  Pinehurst Senior College promises a fiendishly entertaining evening.  Mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Dark Mondays Play Reading
Two one act plays will be read in June’s Dark Mondays’ event in The PumpHouse Foyer: Last Night of the Poms and The Beggar and the Whore, both new works by emerging playwright Abigail Simpson.
The Dark Mondays’ play reading events are becoming increasingly popular and draw some interesting new scripts out of Auckland creative writers. Members of the public are invited to listen to the reading and give feedback to the writers in a forum afterwards. It’s an extremely worthwhile experience for both writer and audience to meet at the coalface of a script as it were and as entry is by koha, the event makes for an inexpensive night of the arts.

Friday Forum in July – Speaker:  Shane Bosher
Longtime Artistic Director of SiloTheatre, the indefatigable Shane Bosher is Friday Forum’s July guest speaker.
Since 2002, he has grown the boutique underground theatre Silo into a robust and vital centre for development and artistic excellence, an onerous undertaking in a business that is all risk with no guarantee of financial reward. Come and hear how he did it. Only $5.00 entry.

What's On

June 28-30

The PumpHouse Presents Matariki_ Maori New Year
Hoki Mai Tama Ma 
By Regan Taylor and Tainui Tukiwaho
Friday 28 & Sat 29 June -7pm
Sunday 30 June – 2pm
Adults $10 / Children $5

Monday 10th June @ 7pm

Dark Mondays’ Play Reading
Two one-act plays
The Last Night of the Poms  and The Beggar and the Whore
By Abigail Simpson
Directed by Kat Glass
Cash bar opens 6.30pm
Entry by koha
All welcome

July 5th @ 5pm
French rendez-vous Cafe at The PumpHouse
Friday Forum
Guest Speaker Shane Bosher
Entry $5

July 8 -27
Tim Bray Productions presents
Pippi Longstocking
By Astrid Lundgren
Various session times.

by Channel Editorial