27 Sep 2015

Awatea - Act 1

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:06 pm on 27 September 2015

Awatea - Act 1
By Bruce Mason

In 1964, The New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) commissioned Bruce Mason to write a play that would feature Opera star Inia te Wiata. By Christmas that same year, a draft treatment was written. The original name for the play was The Hui, but  later changed to Awatea. In April 1965 Inia te Wiata successfully toured George Gershwin's Opera Porgy and Bess in New Zealand.  The timing fell into place and while Inia was in the country, he took on the role of Werihe Paku, the blind māori rangatira of his community and father to Matt Paku (played by Don Selwyn).

Matt is a scholar and gains entry into University, he heads to Dunedin and becomes a doctor, his community have hailed him as their local hero. Matt writes to his father and sends  money every month, the letters are read to Werihe by Gilhooly, the postmistress.

The letters signifies the depth of the relationship between father and son, but things take a turn when Gilhooly reads one of Matt's letters. The drama plays out as the community prepares for the hui on New Years Eve.

Te Ahi Kaa features Act 1 of Awatea, written by Bruce Mason (1921 – 1982),  engineered by John McGregor and produced by William Astin.  

The cast record the play in the production studios at Broadcasting House, Wellington, in 1965. Those shown are, from left: William Austin, producer; Bruce Mason, playwright; and cast members Don Selwyn, Sam Stevens, Ngaire Karaka, Hannah Tatana, Diana Winterburn, Newha Taiaki and Īnia Te Wīata

The cast record the play in the production studios at Broadcasting House, Wellington, in 1965. Those shown are, from left: William Austin, producer; Bruce Mason, playwright; and cast members Don Selwyn, Sam Stevens, Ngaire Karaka, Hannah Tatana, Diana Winterburn, Newha Taiaki and Īnia Te Wīata Photo: The RNZ Photographic Collection, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Awatea Cast
Ana - Ngaire Karaka
Pera - Hannah Tatana
Kani - Sam Stevens
Moki Boy (Voice One) - Peter Gwynne (1929 -2011)
Moki Boy (Voice two) - Ian Mune
Irapeta - Newha Taiaki
Werihe Paku - Inia Te Wiata (1915 - 1971)
Gilhooly - Pat Evison (1924 - 2010)
Jameson - Peter Read (1923 - 1981)
Brett - Tim Elliott (1935 - 2011)
Matt - Don Selwyn (1936 - 2007)
Hamiora - Kingi Ihaka (1921 -1993)
Tina Keritahu - Diana Winterburn (1937 - 1966)
Male Chorus One - Peter Gwynne (1929 -2011), Michael Woolf, Martyn Sanderson (1938 -2009), Ian Mune.
Female Chorus - Dorothy Munro, Wendy Gibb, Ngaire Karaka, Hannah Tatana
Children - Paula D'Emden, Rosamund Packer, Sonny Mulheron, Treena Kerr

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