Awatea - Act II
By Bruce Mason
Thirty years of darkness, no light now, but others, my people, Matt will hold back the dark. Takes a great man to do that... yes?
- Werihe Paku as played by Inia te Wiata, Awatea.
Awatea was first broadcast in 1965 after The The New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation (NZBC) commissioned Bruce Mason to write a play that would feature Opera star Inia te Wiata.
The stellar cast included Don Selwyn (1935 - 2007) in the role of Matt Paku, Inia te Wiata (1915 - 1971) in the role of Werihe Paku, Tim Elliott as Detective Inspector Brett (1935 - 2011) and Pat Evison (1924 - 2010) as Postmistress Gilhooly.
Awatea – which translated means “bringer of light” – explores aspects of Māori and Pākehā co-existence: the old and the new generations; the difficulties involved in higher education for Maori scholars unused to city life, and the tendency towards patronage.
Matt Paku is the son of Werihe, old and blind, whose wife died during Matt’s birth. Father and son have been drawn closer together by the old man’s blindness. Matt was a good scholar and became the hero of the small village when he passed his university entrance and went to Dunedin to become a doctor. Every year since his graduation, Matt returns to Omoana for a week at the beginning of the year, when a hui is held in his honour. He has repaid his father the money spent on his education and still continues to send money every month. Old Werry is dependent on the kind postmistress to read Matt’s letters to him, but she doesn't tell him that Matt is in trouble. The result of her actions – coming in the midst of the hui – is where the drama of Awatea lies.
Awatea, written by Bruce Mason (1921 – 1982), engineered by John McGregor and produced by William Astin.
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