Contact Channel Magazine
Young Maori Playwright Tells a Tale of Love and War banner


Young Maori Playwright Tells a Tale of Love and War

The exploits and bravery of the 28th Maori Battalion during World War Two are legendary and have been a great source of inspiration for New Zealand writers, but scant attention has been paid to the story-making potential of the Maori who served 30 years earlier in the trenches of World War One.
The New Zealand Pioneer Battalion, consisting of two Maori and two Pakeha platoons, was a part of New Zealand’s World War One Expeditionary Force. The battalion served in Gallipoli and the Western Front mainly as pioneers. Pioneers, also known as Sappers, were the labour force that dug trenches, built roads, railways and other engineering or logistical jobs that were often performed under fire.
In November 1918, right before the end of the war, the Kiwis captured Le Quesnoy from the German army, which had held the French town since 1914. It was the New Zealand’s last major action in the war. Le Quesnoy has acknowledged New Zealand’s contribution to its history by naming streets after New Zealand places and erecting a New Zealand memorial. The locals have long memories of those traumatic times nearly 100 years ago and today Kiwi tourists are welcomed warmly by the descendents of the original townspeople.
Prolific, award-winning Maori playwright Albert Belz (Ngati Porou, Nga Puhi, Ngati Pokai) has crafted a poignant wartime love story in Te Awarua, a play set just outside of Le Quesnoy in a trench in the midst of battle. Tawera, a Maori Pioneer Battalion soldier is isolated and preparing for battle in his trench when he is joined unexpectedly by a French woman searching for her lover, a Pakeha soldier and the French man himself.  Interwoven through this is the legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai, as the individuals share their stories and rediscover their human compassion in the face of what was then hoped would be the ‘war to end all wars’.
Te Awarua is directed by Tainui Tukiwaho, most recently seen at The PumpHouse in June this year in the Matariki performance of Hoki Mai Tama Ma and stars Regan Taylor, a regular performer and director of Maori theatre at The PumpHouse.

Cabaret Burlesque with a Northland Twist
Little Black Book is a comedy burlesque by The Northern Dolls Burlesque Cabaret. The Northern Dolls are a Whangarei-based troupe of singers, dancers and performers all from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for the art of burlesque.
Burlesque is an entertainment style that originated in France in the 17th century. Its original purpose was to entertain in a comedic fashion, but almost always by glamorous women. Soon after, it became huge in America and became known as Vaudeville. One of the main aims of the burlesque act is to tell a story that is personal to the individual performer. Each performer creates a stage character, which in essence is an extension of herself, or perhaps who she wishes to be. Burlesque dancers should not be mistaken for strippers, although most Burlesque acts involve the removal of clothing it is more to enhance the idea of “conceal and reveal” within the story of the act. Some of the more famous 20th century burlesque artists include Mae West and American pin-up girl Bettie Page. Dita Von Teese is probably the best-known contemporary performer of the art form, which has also influenced modern alternative styles of burlesque art such as Drag artist performances and Steam-Punk. Films in the burlesque style include Cabaret and All That Jazz. The Northern Dolls embrace the origins of this risqué performance art by providing a full sparkle, no holds barred cabaret show and with characters called Granny Gladass, Charlie Chapstick, Cherry Devine, Dahlia Deco, Miss Terious and Miss Diamond Diva there’s plenty of humour and cheek – pun intended-  to be revealed.
Little Black Book is old fashioned entertainment with a modern twist incorporating comedy skits, dance and music ranging from the 1930s to the contemporary.


Aug 1 -10
Shoreside Theatre Presents
It Runs in the Family

By Ray Cooney
Weds - Sat - 7.30pm
Sunday 4 Aug – 5pm
Sat 10 Aug – 2pm   
Adults: $25
/Conc. $21   
Groups 7+ $18pp           
No shows Mon/Tues.
August 12 @ 7pm
Dark Mondays Play Reading - Two one-act plays
In the PumpHouse Foyer
A Family Family

written by Aiden Dickens
Apes and Chimpanzees
written by Reuben Dylan
Directed by Bryan Johnston. 
Entry by Koha

August 31 @ 7.30pm
The Northern Dolls present
Little Black Book

A risqué cabaret burlesque
Adults $30 Seniors/Students $25

September 6 @ 5pm
Friday Forum

In the French Rendez-vous Cafe at The PumpHouse. Entry $5
Guest Speaker Tim Bray.

September 8 @ 2pm
North Shore Concert Band presents
Back to the Future

A range of music from the 17th Century to the modern era
Adults $15
Family rate (4+) $40
Senior/Student/Child $12

Ph 489 8360 or

The PumpHouse Theatre (off Manurere Ave) 
Killarney Park, Takapuna.
The PumpHouse acknowledges the
support of Pub Charity

by Channel Editorial