Year 11 Drama - Maori theatre

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: W. Walker

For a taste of what Maori Theatre is and what involvement in the subject may lead to in Years 12 and/or 13 view the Waiora promotional video.

Waiora Promotional Video

This course will occur over two terms. Mr Walker and will share responsibility for the teaching of it with Mr Walker providing the script studies, rehearsal and performance guidance for the English based texts and Whaea Ringi providing the knowledge and guidance for the Maori language text.  Throughout the course, it is expected that the class will perform the role of STUDENT AS TEACHER.   

Whenever possible, Maori actors, directors, playwrights and screenwriters who pass through the north will be invited to speak to the class.  

The course will lightly cover history of Maori Theatre including:

  • Pre-European Maori performance
  • Agit-prop Maori street theatre
  • Maori in conventional professional theatre
  • Maori in plays by Pakeha playwrights 
  • Maori and Toi Whakaari 
  • The birth of the Maori voice in professional NZ theatre
  • The establishment of Taki Rua Theatre
  • Maori playwrights and their plays, including:
    • The voice of wahine through theatre 
    • Hone Kouka and the establishment of Maori theatre as a genre
  • Maori theatre and it's international audience
  • Maori theatre and its connection to Maori film

It will also have a strong emphasis on practical theatre, including:

DEVISING AND PERFORMANCE OF ORIGINAL STORIES based on student experience, insight and/or interest.

REHEARSAL AND PERFORMANCE of a selection of scenes from plays by Maori playwrights.

The study, rehearsal and PERFORMANCE OF MAORI TIKANGA elements such as HAKA and WAIATA within the texts studied.

This course will help prepare students for:

  • Year 12 Maori Theatre
  • Year 12 Drama
  • Year 12 Performing Arts Technology
  • Year 12 The Camera and Peformance


Year 12 Drama, Year 12 Drama - Performing Arts Technologies

If enough students select this course for 2020, the option of taking a full year Maori Theatre course in 2021 will be available next year.

Over the past 25 years, there has been a dramatic surge in the number of Maori who have found national and international success in the Performance and Recorded Arts. Maori actors and directors, such as Taika Waititi, have become the face of New Zealand through theatre, television and film. It is no coincidence that, in the early 90s, the New Zealand Drama school was the first tertiary institution to change its name to Maori, being known since as Toi Whakaari. Maori women now head its operations.
The country's only true international theatre company, Taki Rua Theatre specilaises in producing original Maori work and frequently tours Whanagarei. Last year, it connected WGHS Drama to Hone Kouka, Nw Zealand's leading playwright, who invited our school to open Wellington's big Maori and Pasifika Arts festival, Kia Mau with our production of Waiora Te-U-Kai-Po (The Homeland). It was huge success that was named Production of the Year by the creative capital's leading Arts magazine, The Wellington Regional news. Now is a very good time for Maori to be involved in the arts.

Beside the opportunities it offers, Drama has an intrinsic value to those who do it. It is excellent for developing confidence, the imagination, personal creativity, self-discipline, and visual, oral and written texts. It develops team collaboration skills and increases understanding of the world around us and of other people and their behaviours, . Of course, anyone who participates positively in it will have fun!

It is also an essential subject for those with an interest in any part of the theatre, television or movie industries. Right now, in New Zealand, there are a growing number of opportunities for Drama practitioners, not only in theatre but in television, film and internet productions. In addition to a very active locally based television and film production scene, the industry is booming with Disney, Amazon, Netflix and James Cameron all making ongoing commitments to producing projects here such as the $1million per episode Lord of the Rings television series just starting in Auckland and the Avatar movie series being made out of Wellington.
Former Drama students can find a wide range of employment opportunities in stage and screen related areas, in addition to acting. These include Playwrighting, Screenwriting, Stage direction, Film and Television direction, Set Design, Lighting Design, Sound design, Make-up design, Special effects, Art direction, Gaffer, Props making, Arts administration, Film producing, Arts marketing, Production Management and, of course, teaching.
Some make their way independently into a Performing Arts related career whilst others go on to study at one of the many excellent tertiary institutions that cater for graduates interested in the above career choices.
At WGHS, the Drama department is looking at developing more opportunities for students to work with camera performance and production. It is also hoping to develop Maori Theatre as a subject all the way to Year 13.
Thw WGHS Drama department is also actively involved with the creation of local pathways into the theatre for our former students through Wahine Works, a theatre company set up by former students.

Recommended Prior Learning