Musical a tribute to Pacific people

KILA SHOW: Crowds are in for a treat with New Zealand's first Pacific musical The Factory.
KILA SHOW: Crowds are in for a treat with New Zealand's first Pacific musical The Factory.

The biggest musical theatre to happen in south Auckland – that's how Kila Kokonut Krew co-founder Vela Manusaute describes his most ambitious work to date.

He's busy putting the finishing touches to the first Pacific musical The Factory which starts its season at Mangere Arts Centre on Saturday.

With a cast of 12 actors and an eight-piece orchestra, The Factory is "upping the game" for Pacific theatre and professional performance in south Auckland, he says.

"Some of us will never get to Broadway so we'll bring Broadway here," he says.

The show explores the search for love and a better life as an immigrant in a new country where a south Auckland factory becomes the backdrop.

"We're paying tribute to our Pacific people who came in the 1970s and swept the factory floors. So this is our reminder to New Zealand society to say `Hey what happened to those people'?"

Mr Manusaute explains the challenge of creating a Pacific musical with his own brand of social awareness and Pacific humour.

"We know that Pacific people have a hard time but we want audiences to come and forget about it and come to be entertained.

"This is a show for the supercity and we want to make all south Aucklanders proud of us."

But not without keeping it real, the 17-year theatre veteran says.

"In the final song there was this line `We are humble and free' but I disputed that because we can't colour reality in something it isn't.

"We are humble people but I don't want to promote that because we're down the social ladder. And we're not free because we have to get up whether we're sick or not and go to work and pay the bills."

The play has an original score including 17 songs so the past five weeks of rehearsals has been a massive task for the Krew.

The Factory's soundtrack is a "smorgasboard of flavours", composer Poulima Salima says.

"You can't just choose music randomly. It's got to have the right feeling and the right words. A circle doesn't fit into a square," Mr Salima says.

Mr Manusaute's convinced the show will be a success, saying there is no comparison to previous Polynesian theatre.

"The Factory is like nothing you've seen before. No 2 is number two. This is number one."

The production runs from August 13 to September 10 at Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku.

Tickets available from the centre, online at or phone 262-5789.

Manukau Courier