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Te Tangi ā te Tūī

This documentary is a look inside the development of Te Tangi ā te Tūī, a fantastical and allegorical tale of loss of te reo Māori and its reclamation.

Te Rēhia Theatre (Aotearoa New Zealand) in partnership with The Dust Palace (Aotearoa New Zealand)

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“At the time we came to Aotearoa, we came to a land already populated. Populated by manu. The Land of Birds.

Populated too by ngā patupaiarehe, ngā turehu. At that meeting point, as we became tangata of this here whenua, we transformed into something different from what we were before.

What is that feeling in your chest? When you hear that call? That call we all know? That one that sounds like home? It is simply the acknowledgement of that ancient meeting.”

Te Rēhia Theatre, in partnership with The Dust Palace present Te Tangi ā Te Tūī – a unique te reo Māori cirque-theatre work of scale. It is the fruition of a long held desire of these two organisations to create cirque-theatre together. The lead creatives were compelled by the idea of the “original song” of the Tūī and how, as mimics, their call has changed over time shaped by the changing world around it. This serves as the underlying metaphor for our story which weaves a fantastical and allegorical tale of loss of te reo Māori and its reclamation based on the writer’s own whānau story over the generations.

The Artists

Te Rēhia Theatre, established 2012, is a proudly Māori theatre company, championing Māori playwrights, tikanga Māori arts practice, te reo Māori & the presentation of our diverse stories. The company is led by Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho and based at Te Pou – the Auckland home of Māori Theatre.

We have presented five annual years of Te Reo Māori theatre for youth and three te reo Māori works for theatre He Tūrū Māu (2018), E Kore A Muri E Hokia (2017), Purapurawhetū (2016).

We keenly support Māori playwrights; regularly presenting the work of Albert Belz Regan Taylor & Tainui Tukiwaho. The most recent of Te Rēhia’s works include; Black Ties with Ilbijerri Theatre Company for AAF 2020, Front Yard Festivals & Rawiri Paratene’s Peter Paka Paratene.

Established by Eve Gordon & Mike Edward in 2009, The Dust Palace is now the leading circus theatre company in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We exist to elevate contemporary circus culture, and build multi-generational creative capacity in circus, holding the next wave of talent, encouraging better practice & empowering a bold future for the art form.

Collaborations from 2017-2020; Dawn & Midnight with the APO, Heavenly Bodies with AAF; international tours of The Wonderwombs & Goblin Market with The Cultch, & stadium collaborations, Ithaca, Le Cirque Volé & Human. Recent credits: Haus of YOLO at Splore & the Right Royal Cabaret Festival in Taranaki, as well as The Ice Cream Is Melting! commissioned by Auckland Live. 

Director: Tainui Tukiwaho 
Creative Director: Eve Gordon 
Writer: Amber Curreen
Film Director: Matt Gillanders
Lighting Design and Production: Jane Hakaraia 
Music and Sound Design: Carawei Gao and Eve Gordon

Te Tangi ā te Tūī, he karanga no te kainga, pulling us heart-first back to the ngāhere.

Te Rēhia Theatre Company and The Dust Palace Circus Theatre Company are collaborating on a significant theatre work for the first time.

The loss of the legendary original voice of the Tūī provided the inspiration of this work; a parallel to the loss of Te Reo Māori. While still in development, Te Tangi ā te Tūī tells a tale of love and hope that spans generations and brings together traditional legends like those of the Patupaiarehe and urban legends like the passive “urban drift” of Māori and inevitable loss of language and culture.

Tūī soaks up the world around it and responds in song. Though beautiful, his tune now is a faint echo of what it once was when Aotearoa was blanketed in the ngāhere, flutes of patupaiarehe filled the trees and Māori alone walked gently upon their mother. This new work brings together Kaupapa Māori theatre and cirque theatre to create an evocative narrative of love and loss between Māori, Patupairehe and the natural world in the face of colonial impact. Our story speaks in parallel to te reo Māori, the voice of the tangata whenua and grave significance of kaitiakitanga of Aotearoa around climate change and the world-wide loss of biodiversity.

Te Rēhia Theatre is an acclaimed Māori theatre presenter that produces works that share Matauranga Māori with the world through bold contemporary theatre. The Dust Palace is a renowned cirque company that presents ingenious works of beauty and daring through use of aerial, apparatus, groundwork and storytelling. 

Te Tangi ā te Tūī is a Māori circus theatre work about adaptation and authenticity. By concurrently developing narrative, design, movement and circus language, Te Tangi ā te Tūī will transform all pre-existing forms.

Te Tangi ā te Tūī: In Development