Tuatara Collective is a new company, bringing artists together to collaborate and turn our own Aotearoa stories into art.  Our voice, our music, and our dance is most powerful when our hearts are entwined in the roots of the work. Tuatara Collective will produce and present art to general public, communities and schools, locally, nationally and internationally.  All projects are expected to have relevant themes that will provide the basis for community workshops to facilitate kōrero. The Over My Dead Body series by Jason Te Mete is the debut for Tuatara Collective, beginning with UNINVITED (Development Season) at Auckland Pride Festival, and LITTLE BLACK BITCH (Development Season) at Kia Mau Festival, Wellington, followed by Matariki at The Basement Theatre, Auckland, and Artworks Theatre, Waiheke. Both of these productions received excellent reviews, and had successful development seasons (both financially and audience engagement.)



Tuatara Collective - Kaiwhakahaere

Jason (Ngāti Ranginui) is a freelance actor, singer, dancer, musical director, pianist, and most recently, playwright/writer. He has just written his second play ‘UNINVITED’, the second of his Over My Dead Body series. His first play ‘LITTLE BLACK BITCH’ was the winner of the 2018 Adam Play Award for Best Play by a Māori Playwright.  


Jason received outstanding reviews for his performance as Mitch Albom in the NZ premiere of ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ (Newmarket Stage Company), and his recent performance and musical direction of the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival season of 'K'Rd Strip', Okareka Dance Company's highly acclaimed devised work received 5-star international reviews.  He has performed in ‘Billy Elliot’, ‘You Can Always Hand Them Back’, ‘Guys And Dolls’ and ‘Stepping Out’ (Auckland Theatre Company), ‘The Mikado’,  ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ (The Court Theatre, Christchurch), Raymond Hawthorne’s acclaimed production of ‘The Consul’ (Opera Factory), and was the first to play iconic Angel Dumott Schunard in NZ in the premiere of ‘Rent’ in 2007.


Jason has directed over 30 musicals, including ‘Edges’ (Rebel Theatre), ‘Mrs McGinty & The Bizarre Plant’ (The Court Theatre), ‘Dreamgirls’ and ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ (Manukau Performing Arts), which won 9 NAPTA Awards including Best Musical, Best Director and Best Ensemble Cast. He has musically directed ‘Altar Boyz’ (Fortune Theatre, Dunedin), 'Little Shop of Horrors’, 'Checkout Chicks' and ‘The Twits’ (ATC), and 'Blood Brothers’ with Annie Whittle & Ray Woolf.

He has recently finished his tenure as Programme Leader of Performing Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology, and is actively pursuing opportunities to assist MIT Performing Arts alumni and students to step into the industry. He is also scribbling down the new additions to his Over My Dead Body series, plays MATUKU MOANA and MILK. He is also writing his first feature film as part of this series, ‘POROWHITA’.


Tuatara Collective - Kaiwhakahaere

Tāwera hails from Ngāti Porou and Ngāpuhi.  She has over 20 years experience in administration (Human Resources, contracts, accounting) and group facilitation work for community-based and Kaupapa Māori organisations in South Auckland. 

She is an advocate for Māori and Pasifika whānau and community development, and has always had an interest in performing arts & kapa haka. She is a mother to 3 children who are actively involved in the arts, because of which, as a parent helper, she has gained a number of skills in production. 


Tuatara Collective - Mātanga Mātauranga Māori

Tūī is a descendent of Ohomairangi and Mākuratawhiti of the Ngāti Ohomairangi people. Her Grandparents hail from the vessels: Te Arawa, Hōkioi, Tainui, Uruao, Hohou-te-rongo, Kaiwhare, Mataatua, Nukutere, Nukutaimemeha, Paikea, Ārai-te-uru, Uruao, Tākitimu, Manuka, Maahunui, and Kurahaupō.  

A highly skilled Māori performing artist, Tūī is an expert in Mau rākau a Matarua (Weaponry Māori). She specialises in patu (short clubs). Tūī is senior wahine karanga for her many pā and marae. Tūī is a skilled and thorough researcher, and a trained Human Rights Commissioner (Taku Manawa).

Tūī is a creator, composer, tutor and first female leader and tutor of Te Matarae-i-Ōrehu 1994 - 1997, (top National Kapa Haka), and over the last 25+ years she has been a judge for Māori performing art forms from primary through to tertiary level, including senior regionals for Te Matatini and various ahurei and ahurea throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Hawai’i and Australia.

Tūī has performed in the ‘creme de la cream kapa haka’ throughout Aotearoa. Including: Ngāti Rangiwewehi, Te Arahi, Te Rautahi, Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao, and Waihirere.

Tūī led the Aotearoa Māori Cultural Group part of the NZ Symphony Brass Band Orchestra on an European Tour to the World Music Championships in Kerkrade 2005. She has toured extensively locally, nationally and globally, leading, managing, performing, negotiating, marketing, and co-ordinating kapa haka tours and performances in many forums, etc, an experienced Cultural Ambassador for Aotearoa New Zealand.