Look beyond the Maori child abuse headlines, right back to 1869 when many of New Zealand's problems and prejudices were formed, theatre impresario Jim Moriarty urges Porirua.
PREVIEW: An actor, director, and proud Ngati Toa man, Moriarty is bringing his latest play Dog & Bone to Pataka next month, and it's an ambitious work to say the least.
"It's an attempt to try and fix and heal things," he says.
"You'll be deeply moved and enthralled, sad, but you'll say 'that's a lot more insight'."
The play is set on Wellington's south coast during the second Taranaki war, and examines the relationship between a pakeha woman and her Maori husband, who fights for the New Zealand militia against his own sister, a warrior on the Maori side.
"It was an interesting time in history because British troops had withdrawn and New Zealand's first militia was formed," Moriarty says.
'I really want to look at our collective history as Maori and pakeha, and use theatre to reflect on where we've come from and where we're going.
"It's making sense of the seething resentment."
The play lays no blame and does not take sides, he says.
Heavy subject matter does not mean the play is dull or worthy.
Dog & Bone boasts slapstick, mime, comedy, drama, and song and dance, Moriarty says.
"It's transforming, social, political, but at the same time it's entertaining theatre."
The play mixes classical European theatre techniques, employing a chorus of actors as shapeshifting dogs, and Marae protocol.
The audience is welcomed to share their impressions once the play is finished.
Moriarty's partner Helen Pearse-Otene wrote Dog & Bone, the second of a planned four historical plays examining Maori-pakeha relations.
Dog & Bone, December 4 to 8, 7pm at Pataka. Matinee performances December 4 to 7 at 1pm depending on demand. Tickets $25/15, $2 for students at matinees. Earlybird tickets $10 until November 25. Book at www.eventfinder.co.nz or 389 2066.
- Kapi-Mana News