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Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival - Toi Āmai: Papa

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

From critically acclaimed and innovative theatre practitioners, Juanita Hepi, Scotty Cotter, Erina Daniels and Tola Newbery comes a surrealist performing arts medium; It is social narrative with a twist.

Join the cast as their characters emerge from fracture with modern day capitalist dystopia. Told by movement, song, sound and theatrical lyricism, Papa embraces the different and explores social struggles, struggles of Woman and of Māori.

Presented in a pop-up gallery, with a single down light and minimal props, Scotty, Juanita and Tola use physical theatre, sound, puppetry, costume and metaphor to evoke meaning. We explore many themes: politics, cultural identity, hurt, sustainability, healing, history, indigenous rights, these are all interconnected notions that manifest somewhat too easily from our shared Māori perspectives. The making is provocative, risky and stripped back to push boundaries.

Papa is meticulously crafted and expertly shaped with the support of super creatives, together they form a part of the crew and steer alongside us. Mara TK and Wairere Ropata offer us a layered soundscape to devise with and we are inspired by our master navigators and thinkers who have come before us. It is important to tell our stories in our way.

We embody kaupapa searching for sustainable solutions everywhere. Our material and resources are purposely limited, costume and all props are recycled, we focus our energy so as not to distract from the interconnectedness and service we show Papatūānuku.

We invite audiences to experience a dystopian/utopian exposé on what it is to bare the brunt of human wreckage of the land. The idea of 'think space' or 'ponderance' is a notion; an open invitation to willingly observe the un-narrative where the subtle becomes highlighted. The acute - obtuse, and duality permeates every instance.


Duration 55 Minutes

The 50 minute development showing of Papa premiered this winter and is set to go international. Papa travels with māori arts delegates in 2020.

Papa played at FWD9 Festival, 29th August, and will play at Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival, 18 - 20 September, Little Andrometer, 9th-10th October, FESPAC June 2020 and more…

The nature of this arts exploration is that it is compact and can pop in and out of a wide range of performance spaces.

This work searches for new methods to confront our modern quarrels. Movement and song allow us to re-enter this artistic wonderscape under our own artistic decree. We entice audiences to come along for the ride.


Scotty Cotter

Juanita Hepi

Tola Newbery

Outside eye: Erina Daniels

Sound Designer: Mara TK is the son of Māori psychedelic rock legend Billy TK. Mara (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu and Tainui), is a golden voiced, Māori Scottish world-wandering citizen of Aotearoa and has in the last few years, through his work alongside his acclaimed Kiwi future soul trio Electric Wire Hustle (winner of the best electronic act at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards), proven himself to be a singular force for modern music. Mara was also awarded the 2015 APRA professional development award.

"Mara creates unapologetic and fiercely ‘left of centre’ pop music that genuinely deserves a wider audience - both here and around the globe. We want to enable him to keep taking bold strides and realise his music visions." APRA NZ "Darkly enthralling; the songs plead for love as the only salvation…" New York Times.

The Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival event, Toi Āmai, will be showing at a pop-up gallery at 1201 Eruera Street, Rotorua from 18 - 20 September, starting at 8pm. Entry is by koha (donation) at the door.

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