Whakaaria mai is a 60 minute performance based on a collection of stories and memoirs of Canon Wi Te Tau Huata.
Steeped in the teachings of tikanga Māori (Māori tradition) and Theological studies, Wi was a 3rd generation Anglican minister. As a young man enlisted for WWII as a Chaplain in June 1943. He sailed with the 10th Reinforcements to Egypt to join the 28th Maori Battalion with a rank of Captain. Wi had many duties as Padre and was often seen searching the battlefield for wounded and bodies among the debris of shelling and small arms fire for which he would later receive a Military Cross.
His devotion to his duties and men would only be surpassed by his devotion to his family and his faith. As a returned serviceman Wi continue to actively spread the word of God, and instilled a sense of pride among all Māori through Whakapapa and Māori Performing Arts. Wi composed many songs notably his rendition of "How Great Thou Art" entitled "Whakaaria mai" and many other waiata including "Tutira mai nga iwi" "Pa mai" and "AEIOU" .
This production is a tribute by the founder of Kahurangi, the Artistic Director, the late Tama Huata to his father Canon Wi Te Tau Huata. Over the past 32 years Tama compiled stories and memoirs of his father and in 2012 released the album "Whakaaria mai" with the production later taken to the stage in 2013 and 2014 as work in progress. This would be his final production with Tama's passing in February 2015.
The Kahurangi Artistic Team picked up the mantle and continued to develop the works in his honour and continue to dedicate this production to the late Tama Turanga Huata.
"Moe mai ra, moe mai ra moe mai ra"
The production sets to portray the conception of the canoe in Upolu, Samoa, somewhere around 1066 AD, where we find Whatonga as the Ariki (Chief) of one the districts. His younger brothers Orokeu and Oronaino did not hold similar ‘mana’ to him and they decide to build a canoe to carry them and their followers to a new land.
Over a period of 300 years, the canoe was used by many descendents of Whatonga and sailed to all the islands of the Pacific as a major trading vessel and as a vessel holder of all the genealogical ties between all the people of the Pacific. These islands included Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Rarotonga and finally under the captainship of Tamatea Arikinui and the high priests Ruawharo, Tupai and Te Rongo Patahi Putahi the canoe sailed to Aotearoa, New Zealand.
The waka also had several name changes during this time.
The names included:
Te Manu ka rere
Te Pori o Kare
Te Orau ki Iti
Te Tuna Moe Vai
Te Tika a Te Tuaine
Story of the seasons of “Harvest”
Hauhake – Harvest is an original production that combines all elements of Maori performance, including dance, drama, incantations and oratory.
Harvest portrays the rituals and customs of harvest according to Maori tradition. This includes the vengeance of Tawhirimatea (God of the Winds) who vented his anger on his brothers for separating their parents Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Earth Mother).
Tumatauenga (God of War) joins his brother Tawhirimatea and together they create destruction and chaos. Their brothers seek refuge from their combined fury by fleeing to various places – the forests, the bosom of their mother and depths of the oceans.
Tanemahuta (God of the Forests) is chosen by Io (the Supreme Being) to ascend the 12 heavens to obtain the baskets of knowledge. One of these baskets contains stars which Tane places throughout the universe, thereby creating the seasons. From these deeds, the cycles of harvest have become recognized in the Maori calendar.