‘Most epic’ production to celebrate Matariki

Mount Maunganui College  students Tanya Hutchinson, Anika Shaw, Anna Walker, Manaia Aitken, Ava Nelson, Kaizah Jade-Edmonds and Stella -Rae Lloyd-Rangi ahead of ‘Mauao always beside you’. Photo: supplied.

Mount Maunganui College is revving up for the production ‘Mauao always beside you’ on June 26-27 at Baycourt.

Production manager Wayne Flanagan says 75 students from across the campus have been rehearsing for eight weeks to finetune a show that reflects Mount Maunganui’s culture and history through dance, waiata, haka and drama.

Unlike a usual high school production ‘Mauao always beside you’ includes students from four of the school’s departments – Māori, dance, drama and music. The school also received a grant from The Creatives in Schools programme from the Ministry of Education to host the production.

Wayne says ‘Mauao always beside you’ is a devised theatre spectacular to celebrate Matariki and create new legends, featuring waiata (song), ura (dance), haka and drama (monologue and poetry).

The school’s drama department has been researching the Mount’s history – including the Ranui disaster of December 28, 1950, which is captured in the production.

“We live in an incredibly beautiful piece of New Zealand. The Mount Maunganui region is brimming with stories, some are ancient tales, some evoke fond memories, and others are important histories that have been forgotten over the years. The production is a mixture of legend stories, local identities, local stories, fun, laughter, and tragedies that have happened around the Mauao. All of this is done in dance, drama, monologues and cultural dancing,” says Wayne.

“There’s a lot of songs in the show, one of the main ones being ‘Always beside you’ – that’s where the title comes from.”

‘Mauao always beside you’ is directed and designed by Jason Te Mete – the mastermind behind recent Tauranga productions “Takitimu’, ‘Mataatua’ and ‘He Toi Kupu Uhi Tai’, and supported by the Creatives In Schools Programme – with choreography by Vincent Farane, who just finished working with Black Grace Dance Company.

Wayne says ‘Mauao always beside you’ will be “the most epic MMC production ever”.

“This is a modern theatrical experience, with complex narratives – both pūrakau and historic fact-based accounts – weaved together using Te Reo Māori and English. It is very high energy with some specialty dance and haka items.”

Mount Maunganui College performs ‘Mauao always beside you’ at Baycourt Theatre from 7pm on Wednesday, June 26 and on Thursday, June 27. To purchase tickets, visit: eventfinda.co.nz/2024/mauao-always-beside-you/tauranga

You may also like....