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Event: Hemo is Home – March 2022

An array of highly profiled Māori personalities will bring to the stage an award-winning play written by actor Tainui Tukiwaho and his five tamariki during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2021.  

Hemo is Home will premiere in March at Te Pou Theatre, the home of Māori theatre in Auckland. The play will star TVNZ weather presenter Te Rauhiringa Brown and renowned Māori actors Maaka Pohatu (Wellington Paranormal), Bronwyn Turei (Go Girls), Awhina Ashby (Rūrangi), Stephen Butterworth (Spartacus), and Kayne Peters (Life is Easy).  

Hemo is Home is directed by Tainui Tukiwaho and also stars his 10-year-old son and co-writer Te Rongopai Curreen Tukiwaho in the lead role.   

The quirky comedy was named runner-up at the prestigious New Zealand Adam Playwriting Awards in 2022 and was chosen as one of the best Māori plays of the year by Playmarket New Zealand’s Brown Ink competition.   

Tainui wrote the play with his five children in his blended whānau, Te Rongopai, Mia Curreen-Poko, 17, Letoya Fernandez, 16, Paku Fernandez, 16, Jade Fernandez, 12. He used the creative activity as a fun way to keep his tamariki occupied during the Covid-19 pandemic.    

Tainui says: “ This show is one of the most amazing things to come out of lockdown. I spent quality time with my kids and the outcome is this wonderful quirky tale that we created together. What a gift!” 

Hemo is Home follows the adventures of a young Māori boy who is raised by his ghost ancestors at the whanāu urupā (cemetery). It’s created by a close-knit whānau about the love of whānau.   

Young Te Rongopai says:  “I enjoyed writing this play with the family. My brothers and sisters had really good ideas and I’m really proud of all of us.” 

The play’s premiere will be the first production staged at the newly built Te Pou Theatre, located at Corban Estate Arts Centre in West Auckland. The renovation of the new theatre took three years of fundraising and cost around $3 million.” 

Experienced producer, Amber Curreen, who is also Te Rongopai’s mother, says Hemo is Home is the perfect production to welcome the theatre company’s new and improved premises.   

Amber says: “This is Te Pou Theatre’s biggest show on record with ten superb actors and a stage design that shows off the full extent of the newly built whare. We want to show everyone what Māori storytelling of scale is like in its own whare and on its own terms.” 

Hemo is Home March 3-12, 2023,

Te Pou Theatre, Corban Estate Arts Centre,

2 Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson, Auckland. Tickets 

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