The Reverend Frederick Bennett, the Māori missioner in Rotorua in the early 20th century, formed a choir and kapa haka group in Ōhinemutu to perform for tourists. In 1915 this became the Maori Opera Company, which performed the musical play Hinemoa, written by Percy Flynn. The 40-strong cast was entirely Māori, and the costumes included a valuable cloak made from skins of the extinct kurī (Polynesian dog). The Wanganui Chronicle commented that 'never before has the public seen Maori actors, which is a unique contribution to the thespian world'.
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