Commissioned and Presented by Urban Ink and The Cultch

Te Tangi a te Tūī

Te Rēhia Theatre and The Dust Palace (Aotearoa / New Zealand) | By Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho | World Premiere

OCT 19–29

Don’t miss this limited engagement, celebrating Māori culture, hope, and the transformative power of storytelling.

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An extraordinary live experience that fuses Māori culture with the artistry of cirque theatre, told in te reo Māori (the Māori language).

Te Tangi a te Tūī; he karanga nō te kainga, pulling us heart-first back to the ngāhere.

Join us on a mesmerizing journey into the heart of Aotearoa, the land of the Māori people. Te Tangi a te Tūī  (The Song of the Tui) invites you to experience a Māori cirque theatre epic about adaptation and authenticity. This is a multigenerational story for all ages told through soaring acrobatics, dance, and te reo Maori (the Maori language).

The Tūī (Indigenous songbird) soaks up the world around it and responds in song. Though beautiful, his tune is a faint echo from when Aotearoa was blanketed in the ngāhere (forest), flutes of Patupairehe (fairy folk) filled the trees, and Māori alone walked gently upon their mother. The fading of the Tūī’s song parallels the forces of loss and regeneration of te reo Māori. This show combines Kaupapa Māori (a Māori way) and cirque theatre to create an evocative narrative of love and loss between Māori, Patupairehe, and the natural world facing colonial impact.

Commissioned and presented by The Cultch and Urban Ink Productions, this world premiere is a collaboration between two remarkable companies from Aotearoa (New Zealand): Te Rehia Theatre, a renowned Maori theatre company, and The Dust Palace, the contemporary circus company that brought you The WonderWombs and The Goblin Market.


York Theatre
639 Commercial Drive



Monday: 12 -6pm
Tuesday-Saturday: 12-4pm

Open 1 hour prior to every show


90 minutes plus intermission
Recommended for ages 7+
Content Warning: Fog machines. Low level physical combat.

The Cultch 50th Anniversary
Season Packages Available


Eve Gordon and Paku Fernandez; photo by Ben Sarten



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Te Tangi a te Tūī is an allegory for the past and future of the Māori language; telling a story of loss that te reo Māori narrowly avoided and the journey young people now face to bring the reo (language) back to their family lines. 

Aotahi lives on her ancestral lands, close to a forest that is home to the much-feared Patupaiarehe (ancient “fairy” people) and a curious creature, known as the Bird Man, the Manu (bird) who Walks as a Man. Aotahi gives birth to her son Piri – the first boy in this family’s bloodline for many generations. In days long past her ancestors made decisions, or were forced into decisions, that rippled through generations. Piri’s birth unlocks a dormant curse lying in wait for his arrival, it is an utu (debt) that he is now responsible to pay to these magical beings.  The Patupaiarehe (fairy person) Te Pua o Te Reinga wants Piri as a vessel for the spirit of the man she loved and lost at the time Māori were forced away from their lands. Koiriiri, The Manu who walks as a Man, wants the boy as revenge against Piri’s ancestor who trapped him, trimmed his tongue and gifted him to a priest. He wants Piri to replace him in housing the priest’s spirit which binds him to the land. Aotahi does her best to hide her son from the magical beings and the curse. It appears she has succeeded until in his teen years where they begin their pursuit of him in earnest. Each of the creatures take their turn, sharing their stories and trying to convince the boy to sympathise for their plight. A worried Aotahi watches on from the shadows, waiting for the inevitable that will come when the boy chooses a side and both mother and son will be gone forever. What will he choose? How will the song of his ancestors end?




English Audio Track (Listen to before or after)
We encourage you to listen to the English Audio Track before or after you see the show. Please don’t play this track during the performance!



WED, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm


Thu, 7:30pm

Ticket Info

Section Pricing from:

A+: $69
A: $64
B: $49
C: $39
D: $20


Indigenous Pricing:

Self-identifying Indigenous patrons can get tickets (sections A / A+) for just $25!
Use promo code: 2324Indigenous

Valid for performances OCT 19–29.
Not applicable for PWYC and Anniversary performances (OCT 21 & 24).

Cultch Connects:

Our Cultch Connects program provides free tickets for families, community groups, artists, and others who might not be able to otherwise experience our shows. If you would like to learn more about how to access Cultch Connects tickets, please reach out to [email protected].

Pay-What-You-Choose Tickets:

We are thrilled to offer pay-what-you-choose pricing on select performances!  We encourage you to pay as you are able and help support the creation of these shows.

Anniversary Pricing:

To celebrate our 50th Anniversary, we are offering $25 tickets to select performances! That’s two tickets for $50!