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Tuatara Collective brings 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 will have relevant themes that will provide the basis for community workshops to facilitate kōrero. The Over My Dead Body series by Jason Te Mete was the debut for Tuatara Collective, beginning with development seasons of UNINVITED at Auckland Pride Festival, and LITTLE BLACK BITCH at Kia Mau Festival in Wellington, followed by Matariki at Auckland's Basement Theatre and Artworks Theatre on Waiheke Island. These productions received excellent reviews which enabled Tuatara Collective to gain funding and support to present fully professional seasons - LBB in 2020 and UNINVITED in 2021.

Other projects include Over My Dead Body: WITH THESE HANDS (Waiheke 2020) in collaboration with Artworks Theatre, FIA FIA and FRESH CHOICE (2020) and our inaugural HAU Festival [te Hī me te Hā] in August 2022 as part of the Artist's In Residence programme at Basement Theatre. The festival events included Hine Te Rēhia, Garage Party and Ka'a [little shit]. 

Tuatara Collective is working together with Ahipoutu Collective (formerly) Moana Moko) in Tauranga Moana to deliver a series of free Māori Theatre and Wellbeing Wānanga, as well as He Toi Kupu - a large scale community engagement programme in 2022/2023 - made possible with funding support from Creative New Zealand.



Jason Te Mete (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi) is a freelance actor, singer,

dancer, director, pianist, and most recently, playwright/writer. He has just

finished creating and directing TAKITIMU, Te Wharekura o Mauao‘s first ever

school production which received rave reviews and a sold out season.

Earlier this year his second play ‘UNINVITED’, the second of his Over My

Dead Body series was presented during Auckland Pride Festival. 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’ (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 lecturing and as Programme Leader of Performing Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology after the creative arts faculty was disestablished. Now he is focusing on building his own company Tuatara Collective, creating new indigenous stories for stage and screen, and actively pursuing opportunities to assist rangatahi 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.

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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. 



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 creme kapa haka’ throughout Aotearoa,

including Te Matarae-i-Ōrehu, 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 a European Tour to the World Music Championships in Kerkrade Netherlands 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 and is an experienced Cultural Ambassador for Aotearoa New Zealand.

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