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Event: The Haka Party Incident

Auckland Theatre Company’s powerful theatre work The Haka Party Incident is returning to the stage 2nd October 2021. This smash play had its original run in March and April 2021, but is coming back.  
The Haka Party Incident, created and directed by renowned director, actor, and film-maker Katie Wolfe (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama), is a documentary theatre based on the true event that changed race relations in Aotearoa forever: a violent stoush between University of Auckland engineering students and members of the activist group He Taua.
The Haka Party Incident is ‘verbatim theatre’ – the script compiled from live interviews and recreated by the actors exactly as they were spoken in real life.  This unique theatre technique offers audiences a source of uncontaminated truth; different perspectives of those who were there in 1979, their views and experiences, then and now.
Director Katie Wolfe says, “I have always been drawn to verbatim theatre. I am fascinated by the alchemy of performance and truth. I am also fascinated by the journey that Māori and Pākehā have taken in post-colonial New Zealand. The lessons of the past can only be lessons if they are remembered. So, I am drawn to stories that seem to have been forgotten. And there are many.”
The Haka Party Incident retells the events around a group of University of Auckland engineering students celebrating graduation with an annual mock haka that was a long-held tradition of the department. Dressed in hula skirts and work boots, with words and motifs crudely painted on their bodies, the students would perform throughout the university and city centre, stopping traffic on Queen St.
On May 1st, 1979, He Taua visited the engineering students as they rehearsed for the last time. Violence erupted resulting in a landmark court case, a race relations inquiry, and the university Haka Party was never performed again.
The idea that New Zealand was a country that had institutionalized racism was talked about for the first time and paved the way for the Māori renaissance of the 1980s.
Featuring a dynamic ensemble of exciting New Zealand acting talent, The Haka Party Incident features Richard Te Are (In Dark Places, The Luminaries, The Antigone Sound), Aiden O’Malley (Bystander, Good Idea at the Time, Beat(h)oven), Neenah Dekkers Reihana (Waru, Anahera, Wellington Paranormal), Patrick Tafa (48 Nights on Hope Street, Westside, Half of the Sky), Lauren Gibson (Be Longing, Lesbos, Anne Boleyn), and Jarred Blakiston (Vernon God Little, Ablaze, The Gulf). 
You can read Andrew Whiteside’s review of the play here.

NOTE – copy for this article provided by Auckland Theatre Company.

Presented by Auckland Theatre Company and Auckland Arts Festival
ASB Waterfront Theatre
2 – 10 October 2021
Tickets and info  or phone 0800 282 849


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