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Baycourt Addison Theatre
27th - 29th April 2023




Set our stories adrift on the flowing tide


Kia mataara, ka huri te tai...


HE TOI KUPU is a project-based community engagement programme in collaboration with Ahipoutu Collective that empowers local whānau, hapū and iwi to extract their own stories - ancient wisdoms and everyday happenings - and transform them into highly engaging cultural artefacts - including a large-scale piece of mahi toi (Māori artwork) and a stage production.


Historical and intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation has disconnected our people, so that we can no longer see representations of ourselves in our ancient nor our modern-day stories. As a result we cannot begin to imagine who we might become or how we might re-story our lives. 


HE TOI KUPU aims to reclaim our story sovereignty and use contemporary storytelling methods to mobilise community transformation and create new legends. We have observed the positive effects of empowering a community to research their stories and express them through Māori art forms and theatre. This programme will enhance the wellbeing of our people, preserve our culture and revitalise our storytelling legacy and allow us to freely express who we are. 


HE TOI KUPU - UHI TAI has two parts. It is a devised, bilingual theatre experience that features singing, dance, haka and authentic storytelling, through dialogue, monologue and poetry. The 20+ all-Māori cast will boldly share the stories, issues and experiences that they engage with in today’s world, and recount and reimagine some from the past. Filled with song, contemporary and hip-hop dance, traditional Pasifika Siva and haka, Tauranga audiences are in for powerful and moving performances showcasing the immense mana of our incredibly talented rangatahi. 


It is also a physical collection of artworks that will be on display in and around the grounds of Baycourt, using both traditional and contemporary methods including carving and digital design.


The rangatahi involved have actively participated in the research process that involved interviewing members of the Tauranga Moana community, recording many stories, and reimagining them in both art forms.

Our intention for HE TOI KUPU is to reconnect people through community-inspired hybrid stories integrating ancient and new, mystical and common, so that we can see the colourful and vibrant representation of ourselves as atua, as the everyday hero, as explorers, as nurturers, as healers, and as storytellers. We have limitless potential and diverse possibilities when trauma is not a barrier, but instead is a catalyst for transformation.

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