Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Tamaki Stories

Tamaki Heritage Village, Ferrymead. April 2009. Ajr
Every time I come upon the Tamaki Heritage Village out at Ferrymead here in Christchurch, I’m surprised all over again but just how very unexpected it is – a traditional fortified Maori pa tucked into a valley below the terribly proper suburban hillsides of middleclass Christchurch. I quite like that unlikely juxtaposition. For the last two years the massive two-village, 25-acre open air theatre site has hosted visitors from all around the world for their performance of The Chronicles of Uitara, a powerful story of Maori culture and of New Zealand, told across many generations of a single family – the warrior line of Uitara. As well as being a series of published books, two of the three stories in the trilogy have now been performed as ‘live encounters – Journey of Ages in Rotorua and Lost in Our Own Land in Christchurch. Now, a new Tamaki re-enactment, developed off the back of the acclaimed Christchurch story, is to be launched as a touring product, as the Tamaki company moves into its winter schedule of limited Christchurch performance dates for the onsite version. The new mobile story will be performed across New Zealand and conference and educational opportunities – particularly in Canterbury – will be a key focus.

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