Taurite – Haka Dance theatre forging forward with performances in 2022

Celebrated Māori performance company Hawaiki TŪ return to the stage in 2022 with their award-winning work Taurite.

Following delays presented by Aotearoa New Zealand’s recent lockdowns, Hawaiki TŪ and Auckland Live are delighted to announce that Taurite will return to the stage in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in February 2022.

This exciting evolution of Taurite premieres at the Aotea Centre’s Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre from 16 – 17 February, before playing at the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts in Wellington on 11 March.

Twenty performers are set to fill the stage with a stunning fusion of dance, ngā taonga tuku iho (treasures of traditional heritage steeped in ancestral roots), mesmeric soundscapes and harmonious waiata, set against an epic-scale set complete with 3D projection mapping.

Hawaiki TŪ is a haka theatre company with a mission to shape and inspire the future of Māori performing arts.

Under the leadership of Kura Te Ua (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe), the company is known for continually challenging understandings of what haka theatre is and can be and exploring the explosive potential of the collision of kapa haka, indigenous storytelling, dance and theatre conventions. 

Taurite (the art of balance) is a landmark work, created with the long-term support of Auckland Live, that continues the company’s legacy of forging new pathways for haka and theatre in mainstage performing arts spaces.

First developed as part of Auckland Live’s Fringe Town for Auckland Fringe 2020, Taurite was a festival hit.

In addition to blowing audiences away, it took out Best DancePick of the Fringe and Best of the Fringe awards.

The work then returned to the stage at Auckland Town Hall’s Great Hall, in a collaboration with Te Manu Huia Kapa Haka group, and was live-streamed across Aotearoa and beyond to locations as far-flung as Belgium, and French Polynesia.

This next iteration of Taurite is the culmination of years of creativity, experimentation, and development, and will kick off Auckland Live’s return to live performances at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre.

For this upcoming evolution of Taurite, Te Ua has assembled a village of creative luminaries and heavyweights, legacy members of Hawaiki TŪ, and their tamariki.

Creative collaborators include contemporary Māori dance legend Charles Koroneho (Ngāpuhi, Te Mahurehure, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Hau); Arts Foundation Laureate and founder of Black Grace, Neil Ieremia ONZM; actor and champion haka performer Te Kohe Tuhaka (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tūhoe); Arts Foundation Laureate, choreographer, performer, and video artist Louise Potiki-Bryant (Ngāi Tahu); and celebrated theatre and television designer Jane Hakaraia (Ngati Raukawa).

The creators of Taurite have, for the most part, been raised in te ao Māori – on the marae, where te reo is the first language and tikanga is integral to everyday life. 

Hawaiki TŪ invites all of Aotearoa to share in this powerful and uplifting new style of performance.

The kaupapa of this work acknowledges the profound evolution of our nation through Covid, the regeneration of customary practices including the renaissance of the Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), and the current shift in mana and balance of power in Aotearoa between tangata whenua and non-Māori New Zealanders. 

Haka theatre is thought to have first developed in Aotearoa in the 1920s, when Princess Te Puea Herangi formed a band that explored Māori and Western performance styles as they fundraised to build a new marae at Turangawaewae in Ngāruawāhia.

Over a century later, the form continues to find new purpose as Kura Te Ua and her ensemble of creatives give voice to this meaningful and electrifying live experience.

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