Story: Māori theatre – te whare tapere hōu

Hinemoa, 1915

Hinemoa, 1915

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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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: Eph-B-OPERA-1915-01

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby and Briar Grace-Smith, 'Māori theatre – te whare tapere hōu - Origins of Māori theatre', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 May 2024)

Story by Mark Derby and Briar Grace-Smith, published 22 Oct 2014