‘Maori world’ on stage

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

Af­ter a sea­son in the realm of Shake­speare, Roimata Fox is ready to step back into her home world.

The Auck­land ac­tor is pre­par­ing to take the stage in Te Puhi, a com­ing of age drama that draws in­spi­ra­tion from the first beauty queens of New Zealand.

Fox has just fin­ished a sea­son of Much Ado About Noth­ing at the PopUp Globe, her first en­counter with Shake­speare.

Now she is fo­cused on Te Puhi, a play by Cian El­yse Waiti, that fol­lows Te Puhi John­son as the first Maori to have been crowned Miss New Zealand.

Five years later Puhi is liv­ing in London and receives a call home where she must deal with the fall­out of her ab­sence.

‘‘I’m re­ally lov­ing step­ping out of Shake­speare and com­ing into te ao Maori again,’’ Fox said.

Te ao Maori lit­er­ally means ‘‘the Maori world’’.

Ta­punakohe Tocker plays Te Puhi and said the story ex­plored her char­ac­ters’ dis­con­nect from the Maori world.

‘‘That’s true in terms of our his­tory, in terms of Maori, that did hap­pen a lot of the time,’’ Tocker said.

‘‘If they went out­side the pa, they changed. So it talks about the con­nec­tion and the dis­con­nect, and then the com­ing back to­gether.’’

Te Puhi per­forms at the Herald Theatre from June 12 to 17.

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