When Piwakawaka Fly

Ko te Whakaaturanga

The Play

Saturday 15th September 2018

Dorothy Winstone Theatre,
Howe St, Auckland

Doors open 7:00pm

Piwakawaka / Fantail

‘We walk backward into the future,’ is a traditional wisdom of Māori. When Piwakawaka Fly connects the reality of life for rural teenager Meri Te Tai, with the reality of life for teenagers today.

Meri’s parents have spoken several times with Meri about the opportunities which lie ahead. She is to continue to learn English, the main language of business. Her father, Te Rarawa chief Re Te Tai, is a prosperous business man, working in timber and cattle. He promises to look for a husband “who can build a house for her,” a pledge of security and comfort.  

At 13, Meri comes to Auckland, to St. Mary’s Convent school in New Street, Ponsonby.  It is the first time away from her whanau. She experiences intolerance and racism from one teacher but neither from Sister Bernadette, her other teacher.

At AGGS, students are learning about women getting the vote because it’s the 125th anniversary this year. They become intrigued with what life was like in Aotearoa in Meri’s time, and particularly life for Meri.

Songs unite the two time periods, ending with a finale celebrating the vote being won.