Toi Whakaari celebrate Māori and Pasifika playwrights with graduation productions

Pitopito Kōrero


May 21, 2023



Māori and Pasifika playwrights Albert Belz and Mīria George are headlining Toi Whakaari’s double bill graduation shows at our whare, Te Whaea later this month. 

“I am absolutely rapt that the extraordinary mahi of Mīria and Albert are being showcased by our tauira this year”, says Tanea Heke, Tumuaki. “It has been a tough couple of years with COVID decimating live performance. The Auckland production of The Birthday Girl by Albert was impacted by COVID, so it is fitting his work is finally being performed this year by our students”.

Albert has had a stellar 2023 so far being awarded the Adam NZ Play Award and Best Play by a Māori Playwright in April.  “I’ve been lucky enough to perform in one of Albert’s plays, his characters are full of life and he has a wicked style. I’m particularly interested in how we translate his production to the stage”.

“I remember watching and what remains at BATS years ago (2007) and as futuristic as it seemed then, it really was a tohu of what the world is becoming.It feels as if Mīria always sensed the turmoil and knew what lay ahead for us”.

When she isn’t writing poetry, directing plays and films, Mīria is producing theatre and is about to launch Kia Mau Festival as one half of Tawata Productions with Hone Kouka.

“Mīria is a significant wahine toa and a great leader in our sector.  I am so proud that Albert and Mīria have joined our Toi Whakaari whānau this year – it is a great honour for us”.

“And I am so very pleased to welcome back graduate Carrie Green as director of The Birthday Girl, and to be working with Regan Taylor as director of and what remains. These two practitioners are great role models – they’re experienced, they’re good at what they do, they work hard and they work often - we expect them to put our students through their paces, both on and off stage. E rere te huata, kapohia! Like this whakataukī I am hoping our students will seize this incredible opportunity as they prepare to leave our nest and embark into the industry”.

The Toi Whakaari Double Bill season will open May 26 at Te Whaea Theatre and Basement Theatre here at Te Whaea - National Dance & Drama Centre, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year.

More information:

Ticket prices for each show:

Concession $10

General Admission $15

School groups can enquire about special discounts.

and what remains by Mīria George, directed by Regan Taylor

Her family have departed. They have all departed. All of them. All Māori. She is the last and now she too waits to depart. Set in a potential future in Wellington's International Departure Lounge, a battle-weary Mary is confronted by Peter, bringing with him revelations of why her family have left their homeland.

Basement Theatre | May 26 - June 1 | 6pm (Matinee May 27 @ 12pm)

Book Tickets Here

The Birthday Girl by Albert Belz, directed by Carrie Green

Events of the past have stoked the fires of Eloise’s revenge. Now, twenty-five years later she has her knife out for one man, but also the town of Heitiki that let her down. And she’s got all the money in the world to fuel her revenge and sharpen her knife.

Te Whaea Theatre | May 26 - June 1 | 7.30pm (Matinee May 27 @ 1.30pm)

Book Tickets Here


For media enquiries:

Taylor-Rose Terekia

+04 381 9239 or 0210394200