Review: Raw performance enraptures audience

Reviewer Ani Ngawhika. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Reviewer Ani Ngawhika. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A Dunedin family explored love, loss and healing in a unique performance combining Māori culture and theatre.

The play Hine-pū-te-hue — A Journey of Enlightenment — part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival — was a raw and all-absorbing performance written by Tania Williams and her family.

It started with the main character, played by Ms Williams, entering the stage, belting out a karanga to the audience.

Following Ms Williams on to the stage were her two sons, her nephew and play director Jessica Sutherland-Latton, all playing traditional Māori instruments.

The show told a story of enlightenment and empowerment through the personal journey of a Māori woman.

Using Hine-pū-te-hue, the moth goddess, as a guide, they journeyed through the life of a moth.

The moth is described in the show as a ‘‘divine winged messenger’’ and a ‘‘guide to the light from the depths of danger and despair’’.

The show’s message was the importance of endurance and whakapapa.

The stars switched seamlessly between English and te reo Māori, incorporating both Māori and English songs throughout the show.

Ms William’s voice filled the room when she sang — I could feel her emotion seep through.

She had complete control over the mood of the audience; there were moments of excitement, and moments where I felt my stomach sink.

The sound effects and music were created almost entirely live on stage.

Ms Williams and Ms Sutherland-Latton were dressed in long traditional Māori dresses, each adorned with a feather in their hair.

The show was short, but powerful nonetheless.

In true Māori fashion, the audience was invited to share food and conversation following the show.

The attitude of the audience along with the cast created a refreshing sense of unity between two cultures.


Hine-pū-te-hue — A Journey of Enlightenment
Playhouse Theatre
Wednesday, March 20