Production explores controversial side of Rongowhakaata identity
A devised production about Rongowhakaata, art, history, activism and strength will be staged on Sunday as part of the Tairawhiti Arts Festival. All Roads Lead to Ngatapa explores the controversial side of Rongowhakaata’s identity, says co-director Teina Moetara.
“It’s a present day offering of questions of where we come from, where we are today and where we hope to be in the future. It holds a Rongowhakaata lens to that story.
“It helps us think about identity and relationships and puts them inside a storytelling framework. Parts of our history we’ve been exploring are not common in our day-to-day conversation.”
A question from one of the young performers was “how come we’re considered so poor? I know we come from abundant beginnings”.
“All Roads Lead to Ngatapa is the way we want to tell our history and tell our stories to ourselves.”
Prior to British explorer James Cook’s arrival, prophet Toiroa foresaw the coming of Pakeha and of Te Kooti,” says Moetara.
“There’s a point in the prophecy that leads to Ngatapa and the siege there.”
In 1868, Crown military forces under Colonel George Whitmore besieged the 300 occupants of Ngatapa Pa with mortar fire and by cutting off their water supply.
“It’s a time in our collective history when there was a lot of pressure. That pressure pops and rolls out into who and where we are today.”
Co-directed by Teina and Ngapaki Moetara and co-created by young singers, poets and kapa haka practitioners who bring their skills to the production, All Roads Lead to Ngatapa is based on storytelling. The play begins with a story of wealth and abundance, then one of pressure and destruction; of poverty, while the last story is the desire to come to abundance and reset Toiroa’s prophecy, says Moetara.
All Roads Lead to Ngatapa, Lawson Field Theatre, Sunday 3pm & 6pm. Pre-booked tickets only. Tickets available from iticket.co.nz