Witi’s Wāhine

A tribute by Nancy Brunning.

Lovingly crafted from excerpts from Witi Ihimaera’s collection of short stores and novels, our indomitable heroines take you on an epic journey across their history, their mythology and cultural consciousness as we recognise the passion, truth and spirit of mana wāhine.

Witi’s Wāhine brings to life remarkable female characters from novels such as The Matriarch, Whānau, Pounamu Pounamu and more in a performance that will ignite your deepest instincts of a people in metamorphosis.

Witi’s Wāhine premiered at Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in October 2019.

“Brunning brilliantly draws together the threads from the pages of the books to reveal a love story dedicated to all the women Witi has moulded his characters from… the many Māori matriarchs who fulfil their roles in a distinctly Māori way.”

Creative Credits

Written by Nancy Brunning | Directed by Waimihi Hotere | Performed by Roimata Fox, Awhina Rose Ashby, Olivia Violet Robinson-Falconer & Pehia King


10 – 13 June
Thur – Sun 7.30pm
Sat 1pm


Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre
11 Hutchison Road

Learn More About the Collective

Based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.

Hāpai Productions’ vision is to produce mana enhancing Māori Theatre productions whilst upholding Māori Values.

Hāpaingia te kaupapa Māori me te mana Māori, mā te auaha a ngā whakaari Māori me ngā mahi a te mātauranga Māori – Upholding Māori philosophical practices, prestige and the pursuit of Māori knowledge through the creation of Māori theatre.

Nancy Brunning (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe) and Tanea Heke (Ngāpuhi nui tonu) worked together for years (way back in the last 90s). They decided to combine forces in 2013 and created Hāpai Productions.

Hāpai Productions provides a culturally supportive environment for Māori Theatre practitioners to feel understood and supported. We have over 25 years of industry experience an undeniable commitment and passion for theatre and have experienced the positive effect theatre can have on Māori artists and their audiences. Our philosophy on Māori Theatre develops further on from the guidance and vision of Māori Theatre pioneers such as Keri Kaa, Wi Kuki Kaa, Don Selwyn, Tungia Baker and Rowley Habib who challenged the New Zealand Theatre status quo in the 60’s and 70’s by championing for Māori led theatre productions to be included on mainstream stages.

The wāhine Māori voice is important to establishing a balanced perspective of the Māori world view. Hāpai key focus is in creating more opportunities for wāhine representation on stage and behind the scenes.

Hāpai offers opportunities for all Māori practitioners to learn new skills in all areas of theatre performance and production.