Eve Gordon and Paku Fernandez; photo by Ben Sarten

The Cultch and Urban Ink Present

Te Tangi a te Tūī

Te Rēhia Theatre and The Dust Palace (Aotearoa / New Zealand)

By Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho
World Premiere

the performance

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.


Message from
The Cultch and Urban Ink


Aaniin / Welcome,

You are about to be immersed in a world you have never experienced and hear a language that originated 13,000 kilometres away over a thousand years ago. You are attending the world premiere of a contemporary performance that is steeped in an ancient story and created through a process rooted in generosity, trust and honesty. 

We are all so thrilled to be able to bring this work to our community. Urban Ink and The Cultch co-commissioned Te Tangi a te Tūī in 2021, and we have been dreaming of its arrival on this stage since then. Stemming from a partnership that was conceived in a pandemic, it has already brought great hope to all involved. We wish that hope for each of you. 

We are grateful for the care and collaboration that Te Rēhia and The Dust Palace have taken and for the long journey they have made to be here. We are grateful to all of you for being here and to The Ronald S. Roadburg Foundation for their support in making this possible. Look at all the good things we can do together!

Enjoy the show!
Corey and Heather


Written by
Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho

Produced by
Te Rēhia Theatre and The Dust Palace Circus Theatre

Co-commissioned by
The Cultch and Urban Ink Theatre Society

Creative Team:

Tainui Tukiwaho

Circus Directors
Geoff Gilson & Eve Gordon

Lighting and Set Design
Jane Hakaraia 

Technical Director and Rigging
Andrew Gibson

Sound Design
David Atai and Crescendo

Rachael Dubois

Stage Manager
Edward Peni


Ellyce Bisson
Amber Curreen
Te Rongopai Cureen-Tukiwaho
Joe Dekkers-Reihana
Paku Fernandez
Eve Gordon
Freddy Matariki Carr
Luis Mierelles
Tainui Tukiwaho
Mia van Oyen

Supported by:

The Cultch
Urban Ink
Canadian Arts Council
Creative New Zealand
Manatū Taonga


From Tainui Tukiwaho

Te Tangi a te Tūī is a story that came to Eve and I when we were in our late teens. It was Ruth, Eve’s mother who mentioned something she’d been reading that detailed how extraordinary the complexity of the voice of the Tūī was and how, even in that early colonial time, it was rapidly changing, morphing to its new and more industrial environment. 

This struck me at the time as not only extremely powerful but deeply analogous to the experience of colonisation on my people. The idea stayed with me for over 20 years, permeating and growing in my mind. There were a couple of false starts along the way, but where we have arrived now is a wonderful realisation of a dream that has lived in my mind all this time.

The timing was perfect for this show to come to life. Eve and I over the years have pursued very specific artistic pathways in our careers and because of our selected pathways (circus and Maori theatre) we have arrived to this moment in time where we can weave our skills together and create an incredibly new and unique piece of theatre

From Eve Gordon

As tangata tiriti (Treaty partner), this is not a story I or Dust Palace have the mana (authority) to tell. We are honoured to be given the opportunity to support our writers and friends to tell the story they need to tell and utilise all our possible skill sets in doing so. 

For myself as a co-creator it’s been a unique and wonderful journey, discovering nuances to the role and focussing all my creative energies to whakamana (give authority to) the whakaaro (thoughts) of others. 

I could see it was important from the outset not to rush the process of this collaboration. That it was vital to allow enough time for the discovery of what these theatrical languages could give to each other. I believe te ao Māori has a lot to teach the world about how to honour time and space. 

I have always firmly believed that Aotearoa has the potential to create incredible, powerful and profound circus theatre and I hope Te Tangi a te Tūī marks another small step in this direction. 


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?



When the sun first rises over the sacred mountain of this land, when it crests the peak and spies through the gaps of rigid rock and boulder, he is greeted by a crystalline lake that collects the mist on its surface longer than most. The mist does not just sit there though, if you watch closely from the shore, it gives the impression that the mist springs from the lake itself. Which of course it does, for how else is a lake supposed to cry.

When Hāpeta first met Te Pua o Te Reinga he was out hunting for the unique and elusive White Tūī, it is rarely seen and it is impossible to know whether it is heard or not because of its amazing power of vocal mimicry. The young hunter was determined to find this treasure and return home a hero, for days on end Hāpeta made his way through world of Tāne, the god of the forest, all the while he was being followed by Te Pua o Te Reinga a curious Patupaiārehe (fairy) who was completely enthralled by the young warrior.

Hāpeta indeed found a treasure but it did not come to him in the form of a rare bird, it arrived in a far more precious package. The love between Hāpeta and the ferry was deep and it fed their forest home, the plants were lush, the animals hearty and the sky was always blue. But like all other things in this world, this too did pass.

Upon the arrival of the white man battles sprung up all over the lands, not just between the white and the brown skin but all because of the white skin. These battles required strong warriors and when the tribe of Hāpeta was threatened of course he left the safety of his forest home and fought for his land, he returned to his love, happy but changed. He left many more times, each time returning with a piece of him forgotten on the battlefield, until, one day Hāpeta did not come back.

Hāpeta didn’t die, not physically. But spiritually he was destitute, all the death, all the killing, all the loss stole something from him that he could never get back. When he finally did return to his homeland he remembered his life before the wars as if they were dreams, dreams where he lived among fairy folk and made friends with the animals. It filled the man with sadness, for he had to lie to himself in order to carry on, he had to deny the existence of his greatest love to live in this world and for each lie he told himself, each time he denied Te Pua o te Reinga, a tear formed inside the man that he refused to let free.

In his twilight years, he would return to the forest, yelling at the trees, telling them to leave him alone, that he promised to never return and to stop tempting him. Hāpeta was the officially crazy old man of the village, no one had time for him other than his grandson, Te Rongopai. Te Rongopai was special because when he was born he had the same spirit that his grandfather had. Te Rongopai held the future for his people for with his magical spirit he could weave together once again the fairy folk and man.

One day, as Hāpeta was ranting at the forest, Te Rongopai watched his grandfather and for the first time saw the truth of his ramblings, for there in the forest depths was indeed a figure, among the trees weeping before the old man who was looking right through her. Not only could the boy see the magic creatures of the forest, the boy could see all types of magic including the plug on his grandfather’s side. In the very place where his grandfather had been complaining of a pain which no doctor could address. The boy could see a plug right above where his grandfather’s liver would be.

Full of the desire to rid his grandfather of the pain, the boy attempts to remove the magical plug. He pulls and wrestles, spurred on by the voice of the fairy woman, demanding the freedom of the man she loves. “Remove the plug and remove his pain,” she shouts. The boy loves his grandfather and fuelled by that love, eventually he wrestles that plug free. A scream of pain escapes the old man’s mouth and for only the briefest moment a renewed fire burns in his eyes, before he begins to weep. He is finally releasing decades of pain that has been trapped within. 

But this victory was short lived for everyone, Te Pua o te Reinga did not get her love back, Te Rongopai did not remove the old man’s pain and Hāpeta was not set free. When the plug was removed, when the barrier was removed, when the first tear was set free Hāpeta lost all control and the old man just cried and cried. He cried until there were puddles at his feet, he cried until there were puddles up to his shins, he cried until there were puddles up to his waist.

Te Pua o te Reinga slowly climbed the trees until the tears finally stopped falling, unfortunately Te Rongopai was not so lucky and drowned beneath his grandfather’s sadness. It wasn’t until the last tree was covered and the valley was full of water that the tears finally stopped. But the crying itself never actually stopped, evidenced by, as our story began, the mist that lives above it.


This land has always been the domain of birds; ngā manu. These children of Tāne inhabit all parts of Papatūānuku; from the warm soft undergrowth to the frigid soaring peaks of our mountains and all the spaces between, you will find the winged folk who belong to this land. 

When man first walked the land these creatures were curious, curious about these new folk. This curiosity was the demise of some manu; the giant Moa, naïve to the wants of man, was easy prey. The same cannot be said for one of our now most prolific birds; the Tūī. 

The supremely curious Tūī perhaps saw his like in mankind. Mellifluous of voice and fiercely protective of its space the Tūī liked to mimic the voice of man. The Tūī, while still hunted, also became a friend to man and gained such respect in their eyes that words of admiration were made in their honor. One who speaks well, one who sings beautifully. Chiefs would have Tūī as their esteemed familiars, with their tongues clipped for precision they were  entrusted to sit at the orators shoulder and mimic the words of the leader. To some this would seem a life of servitude, to others it was a calling. This was the very dream of the manu in our story. 

Kōiriiri was more curious than most and desired nothing more than to learn of these creatures and their interesting ways. While observing a group of young warriors in the forest he tempted fate to come closer and closer to the ground. Alighting on the ground he fell into line behind them, practicing their unfamiliar walk. Quietly first he began to mimic their words. Theirs were warbling sounds like the water trickling across rocks. He enjoyed his game and chuckled to himself proud of his clever mimicry. 

Unbeknownst to him there was another young warrior following up the rear. She was new to this group and was eager to show her worth. She had been watching this strange bird following the others, deftly mimicking not just their words but their movements. Here was an opportunity to show her value. She snatched Kōiriiri as a prize gift. His fate however, was not to be a friend to a chief, but instead to be given to another, crueler breed of man. 

Kōiriiri had seen the steady arrival of this new kind of man. Fairer of skin like the Patupaiārehe but worlds apart in their ways. Their voices proclaimed harshly with words of an unfamiliar god on their lips, they walked heavily on the land with eyes that gobbled up all they saw. Kōiriiri knew of others who had been taken by this white man and had heard rumours of the fate they faced. He cursed this young warrior who was his captor. This traitor. He screamed his oath but it fell on deaf ears, so he cursed the generations to come.    

Koīriiri was eyed greedily by the Priest who had no respect for the children of Tāne and only saw him as a tool, a weapon to pierce the hearts of men with the word of god. Kōiriiri had his beak tied, his wings clipped and was kept starving and tortured in a raupō cage. It was when he was so weary that he could not escape or fight that the priest prised open his beak and held his tongue tight. While singing of his wretched lord he took a razor to Kōiriiri’s tongue, removing the soft hairs. With each harsh scrape and blood that filled his beak Kōiriiri cursed the warrior. 

With every year the manu spent, captured, repeating the scriptures of the priest he cursed the warrior. With the words of the bible on this tongue and vengeance in his heart he learnt about this new white man. He learnt what moved him, what drove him and just as he used to mimic the sounds of the forest world, he mastered his mimicry of this man. So driven was he, to earn his freedom through this Priest, he excelled in mimicking every facet of his being. The Priest and Kōirikiri travelled the land converting Māori to his cause. Kōiriri became the perfect tool for his master’s desire until all the lands Kōiriiri had known were filled with men who welcomed the Lord into their hearts. 

However, the Priest started to get wary of the dark knowing look in Kōiriiri’s eyes and was sometimes startled when he would turn to look at the bird and see an exact reflection of his own voice and repose. The Priest did not know the dark force that propelled him forward until it was too late. 

After long years of servitude and curses laid upon curses, Kōiriiri could take no more. No more scripture, no more cage. He wanted his freedom. The force of his desire made the air shimmer around him and the world vibrate. As the Priest had him repeat more and more scripture their worlds began to blur. Kōiriiri was so deft in his mimicry it was like a mirror, like the Priest was looking at himself commanding himself to speak. Over and over again until Kōiriiri demanded and he responded with all of his power, his speech, his body and his very essence. Over and over again until the Priest was but a withered husk, curled upon itself, starved of its very life force. Kōiriiri however was changed. He unfurled himself like a new fern frond, pulsing with new life. He stood, stretched his new neck and laughed a man’s laugh. He was changed. He was the bird who walked as a man. 

Life was not easy for Kōiriiri afterwards. Despite his intense drive of revenge against his original captor he could not walk easily in the world of man and was cast out. He tried to return to the forest to his kin but this broken being who emanated waves of anger was not known to the birds. So he found a curious dark space in the forest where only the Patupaiārehe dwelled and there he stayed. Keeping close to the descendent of his enemy the young warrior. 

As they grew and changed and the world of man changed completely, he changed with it. And with every generation he endured. The warp in the weft of the world was spun around him, keeping him alive and apart. Always on the outside, always looking in from the edge of the forest, mimicking its changes. The Patupaiārehe looked on at him in pity and disgust. But he does not care. He has built his own world in the forest using the techniques he knows only too well from the Priest. He is his own chief. But he does not have his revenge. And he does not have his freedom. So here waits Kōiriiri, this curious broken creature, this bird who walks as a man. Waiting for the descendant of his captor whose death will be his release.         

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!


Te Rēhia Theatre Company

Te Rēhia Theatre, established 2012, is a proudly Māori theatre company, championing Māori playwrights, tikanga Māori arts practice, te reo Māori & the presentation of our diverse stories. The company is led by Amber Curreen and Tainui Tukiwaho and based at Te Pou – the Auckland home of Māori Theatre.

We have presented five annual years of Te Reo Māori theatre for youth and three te reo Māori works for theatre He Tūrū Māu (2018), E Kore A Muri E Hokia (2017), Purapurawhetū (2016).

We keenly support Māori playwrights; regularly presenting the work of Albert Belz Regan Taylor & Tainui Tukiwaho. The most recent of Te Rēhia’s works include; Black Ties with Ilbijerri Theatre Company for AAF 2020, Front Yard Festivals & Rawiri Paratene’s Peter Paka Paratene.

The Dust Palace

Established by Eve Gordon & Mike Edward in 2009, The Dust Palace is now the leading cirque theatre company in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We exist to elevate contemporary circus culture, and build multi-generational creative capacity in circus, holding the next wave of talent, encouraging better practice & empowering a bold future for the art form.

Collaborations include Dawn & Midnight with the APO, Heavenly Bodies with AAF; international tours of The Wonderwombs & Goblin Market with The Cultch, & stadium collaborations, Ithaca, Le Cirque Volé & Human. Recent credits: HAUS of YOLO at Splore, Right Royal Cabaret and Hamilton Arts Festivals, and The Ice Cream Is Melting! commissioned by Auckland Live.

Thank Yous

Ruth Gordo, Charles Koroneho, Te Arohanui Korewha, Ngahiriwa Rauhina , Ariel Cronin, Edward Clendon , Richard Te Are, Kasina Campbell, Rei Samuel, Taane Mete, Annette Morehu, Haani Huata , Maioha Allen, Katelyn Reed, Tom Knowles, Kiriana Sheree


Amber Curreen
Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Te Roroa
Co-writer / Co-Producer

Amber is a kaupapa Māori focused producer who has been delivering professional theatre since 2009, formerly with SmackBang Theatre Company & currently with Te Rehia Theatre Company and Te Pou Theatre. Through these organisations Amber’s production experience includes co-production of many innovative mainstage shows (
BLACK TIES, Astroman, SolOTHELLO, Raising The Titanics), Te Reo Māori works (He Tūrū Māu, E Kore A Muri E Hokia, Purapurawhetū) & youth shows (Ruia Te Kakano & the Maui Magic series) to theatres, festivals, communities, marae & schools.

Amber has been part of the story creation for BLACK TIES and has written Mahuika te reo Māori a work for young people commissioned by Auckland Theatre Company.  Amber has also facilitated the script development process for a number of playwrights & provided a number of industry development opportunities. Amber is a leader of Te Pou Theatre & is the festival director of Kōanga Festival. 

Ambers mahi is driven by a strong tikanga based arts practice & focuses on high quality, innovative story-telling that brings Te Ao Māori to the stage & supports the reclamation & revitalisation of te reo Māori. 


Tainui Tukiwaho
Te Arawa, Tuhoe
Director / Co-writer / Performer

Tainui Tukiwaho is an experienced theatre maker, reo Māori speaker and has been a company director, producer, director, actor and writer of Māori theatre for a number of organisations over the last ten years including SmackBang Theatre Company, Te Rēhia theatre, Takirua and Ruia Taitea Creative. Tainui is highly experienced with te reo Māori theatre direction and has been awarded for his playwriting (Hemi is Home, 2022). 

Some of his most recent theatre writing/directing credits are:

2021 RACISTS ANONYMOUS & PETER PAKA PARATENE, Writer/Director, Te Rēhia Theatre & Te Pou
2020 FRONT YARD FESTIVALS, Director/Writer Te Rēhia Theatre
2019-2020 BLACK TIES, Writer/Director/Performer Te Rēhia Theatre & ILBIJERRI Theatre Company
2019 ASTROMAN, Director, Te Rēhia Theatre & Auckland Theatre Company
2018 HE TURU MĀU, Director, Te Rēhia Theatre 
2017 E KORE A MURI E HOKIA, Director, Te Rēhia Theatre 
2016 PURAPURAWHETŪ, Ruia Taitea Creative
2012 – 2016 RUIA TE KAKANO Te Rēhia Theatre (Schools tour)
2014 HOKI MAI TAMA MĀ, Writer, Te Rēhia Theatre

Eve Gordon
Co-Creator / Costume Designer / Performer

Eve, once called the Beyoncé of NZ circus, discovered physical storytelling at drama school. It very quickly became her vocation, passion and her life’s drive. She graduated from UNITEC with a Bachelor of Acting in 2002. Eve has been working as a circus performer, actor, experimental filmmaker, costume-creator, and producer for the last 15 years.

Across the last decade Eve has also been a pou for the circus community, writing national guidelines in best practice and ethics and growing the national circus association. Her most recent academic endeavor was co-authoring Te Tomo – Māori Circus Pedagogy with Tainui Tukiwaho. 

Eve founded The Dust Palace in 2009. Since its inception she co-directed all 15 of its full-length circus theatre works. She recently passed on the running of the organisation to others in order to focus on her work as a performer.


Geoff Gilson
Circus Director

Geoff Gilson is a freelance performer, combining circus, dance, theatre, and performance art. Since completing a degree in Contemporary Dance in 2002 (UNITEC) he has been working in performance in New Zealand and Internationally. In 2017 he graduated with an MA in Performance and Media Arts from AUT University, developing new sculpture/performance conceptual integrations. He has worked as a company member of Dust Palace Circus Theatre Company for 10 years and is the Executive Director of the company. 

Geoff also works with Vospertron Performance Group, as well as working in New Zealand and Internationally for such choreographers and directors as Winning Productions, Michael Parmenter, Touch Compass Dance Company, Theatre Beating and Malia Johnston.

He has worked with Opera Australia, Jerome Bel (France), Tino Seghal (Germany), The Body Cartography project (USA), PAiN (Sweden) Janis Claxton (UK), Woest (Netherlands/Belgium), Johanna Klaus/ Te Hononga Collective (Switzerland), Xaris Finland (Finland) and Carnival Cruise Lines (U.S.A and Mexico).


Jane Hakaraia
Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga
Set and Lighting Designer

Jane Hakaraia is a freelance Theatre and TV designer. She has a degree in Product design from Unitec and undertook an honours degree in Sustainable furniture design at AUT. In 2014 she received the Excellence In Theatre award at the Auckland Theatre awards.

She regularly works with Blue Bach Productions as Art Director on their TV offerings and worked with Māoriland Film Festival on the design of their indoor and outdoor spaces at the Māoriland Hub in Otaki. 

Companies she has worked for include Bullet Heart Club, Massive Company, Silo Theatre, Brilliant Adventures, Auckland Theatre Company, Te Rēhia Theatre Company, Taki Rua, Hapai and Hawaiki Tu.  This year she was LX, set and Av designer for Sing to Me for Taki Rua, Set and LX designer for Autaia with Auckland Unlimited and Hawaikii Tu, Production designer for Kūpapa with Te Pou theatre and Co-Production designer (with Sean Lynch) for Every Kind of Weather for Brilliant Adventures.

Andrew Gibson
Technical Director / Rigger

Andrew has been working in the events and entertainment industry for over twenty years. Coming up through university and amateur theatre in Christchurch, Andrew took a ‘year’ after completing his studies to decide his future direction. Andrew specialises in stage mechanics and rigging through to technical management. He co-founded Entertainment Production Services with Vicki Cooksley in 2011 providing technical support to events and productions throughout New Zealand. Andrew was the head rigger for the World of Wearable Art for ten years and currently spends most his year working on arts festivals and musical theatre productions.

David Atai
Sound Designer

Meet the multi-faceted musician and artist with over 20+ years of experience, best known for his 
work with Nesian Mystik as a guitarist and producer. David has collaborated with chart-topping artists in New Zealand and contributed to iconic television series such as Bro Town. With expertise in production, recording, engineering across all genres, mentoring, and captivating performances for intimate gatherings or massive crowds of 40k+, David has been instrumental in developing programs that encourage and strengthen the musical abilities of aspiring musicians, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to pursue their dreams. David Atai is a true visionary, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry while empowering the next generation of talents.


James Zambucka
Assistant Sound Designer

From being self taught in his early teens, to being professionally taught by David Atai, pianist James Zambucka brings a sound and feeling of familiarity and nostalgia, in a way that has evolved and elevated his sound to new heights. Pulling inspiration from genres such as shoegaze, Gothic rock, to Jazz, and orchestral. James is creating harmony using traditional tones and synthesized sounds, culminating in conformity.

Edward Peni
Stage Manager

Edward Peni is a Tamaki Makaurau based Theatre practitioner who has worked across the creative field as an actor, stage manager, director and producer. He has worked with all the major theatre companies within Auckland including Silo Theatre, Auckland Theatre, NZ Opera, Auckland Arts Festival, Potent Pause and Te Pou Theatre. 

Recent producer credits include O Nofoa with Te Pou Theatre (2017), a Samoan translation of Eugene Ionesco’s The Chairs, as well two successful seasons of Skin Hunger by Tatiana Hotere as part of the Auckland Fringe Festival 2022 and Summer at Q 2023.

Edward has worked with Michael Lawrence as actor in Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse (2008 & 2018)  as Lush, as well as co-directing Potent Pause’s successful production of Pinter’s seminal work, The Homecoming which was presented at the Auckland Old Folks Association in 2022. Other directing credits include the premiere of TWACAS – The West Auckland Cardigan Appreciation Society by Sam Berkley in 2010, The First Asian All Black by Renee Liang in 2011 and Tainui Tukiwaho’s The Sun and Wind at Circa Theatre in 2023 which will be remounted at the Auckland Arts Festival in 2024.

His Theatre skillset have also seen him transpose to them into the realm of Urban Regeneration working as a Placemaker at Eke Panuku Development Auckland since 2017 which has fostered an integration of his empathic people leader skills with an understanding of place to influence and inform good design to enable strong connections between people and place.


Rachael Dubois

Rachael is a theatre-maker, producer and facilitator from Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland. Rachael has a Bachelor of Performing Arts from UNITEC (2004) and has been producing and performing theatre ever since. In her early career she worked with Massive, Tim Bray, Potent Pause and Auckland Theatre Company and co-founded the Peripeteia players. She moved to Melbourne in 2007 and presented shows in Melbourne and Brisbane Festivals. She joined Melbourne Playback Theatre Company in 2010 and spent 11 years as an actor, facilitator and eventually Artistic Director. In Melbourne she also toured her own show TWO MORTALS to La Mama, regional Victoria and Circa, Wellington. She has been a Teaching Artist for The Song Room and is a facilitator for professionals in teamwork, storytelling and presentation skills. Rachael returned to Aotearoa in 2021 to have her second baby and joined The Dust Palace as Producer in 2023.


Luis Mierelles

Luis was born in Brazil, and has Indigenous and African genealogical connections, but has been living in Aotearoa for the last 10 years. He is passionate about supporting communities in need and the performing arts – particularly circus.

His training began in Brazil with samba and capoeira, and here in Aotearoa he has performed with The Brazilian Divas Performance Company. From there he went skywards and began aerial circus training, and in the last 5 years has performed in a number of shows for both React Circus Company and The Dust Palace Circus Theatre Company. In 2023 performed as a core member of the cast of HAUS of YOLO – touring to Splore and Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, and has been developing his new Boylesque in the process.


Freddy Matariki Carr – Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe

Freddy Matariki Carr is a kaitiaki, shapeshifter and facilitator of Ngāti Awa and Ngāi Tūhoe decent. Based in her turangawaewae, Whakatāne, Freddy has been actively reconnecting people and place, bridging the pakeha and maori worlds and regenerating te taiao/natural environment with a focus on fresh water.

She supports rural schools and community groups through flax-roots kaupapa to restore natural spaces and is currently co-facilitating atua wahine, dance ceremonies with Dr. Ngahuia Murphy and The Wahine Korikori collective.

Freddy holds a double degree from La Universidad de EAFIT Medellin, Colombia and Victoria University of Wellington. In 2019 Freddy studied Indigenous Performing Arts at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, focussing on kapa haka and theatre.


Joe Dekkers-Reihana

Joe was born in Kirikiriroa and grew up all over the motu, first acting as a child in his mother’s art projects through her studies in Waikato.

Joe was in Wellington when he decided to pursue a career in the arts. He went from Onslow college, to Te Rakau Hua o te Wao Tapu with Jim Moriarty, to Long Cloud with Willam Wassenar and then studied at Toi Whakaari Drama School.

Joe is in four bands ‘Loud Ghost, ‘New Telepathics, ‘Andrew Fagan and the people’ and ‘Cheap Sav For Dead Friends’. Joe is currently developing his play ‘The Wall’.


Ellyce Bisson

Ellyce is a New Zealand based dancer, actor and circus artist – specialising in Aerial Hoop, Corde Lisse and Partner Acrobatics.

After graduating from Apollo Theatre College in 2017 and discovering circus arts in 2018, Ellyce has found her joy in combining the technical skills, and opportunity for physical expression that each art form offers.

Currently Ellyce is working as a company member for The Dust Palace Circus Theatre and dancer for Luck and Schooney Productions. Recent works include Haus of Yolo (2023) and Naked and Dangerous (2023)


Paku Fernandez
Ngāti Porou, Kaitahu

Paku Fernandez is a budding performer with screen roles already under his belt including Shortland Street (2021-2022), The Duckrockers (2022), The Untold Tales of Tūteremoana (2022) and a new film in production set to be released in 2023.


Te Rongopai Curreen-Tukiwaho
Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Tūwharetoa

Te Rongopai (11) is a developing young actor and tauira of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kōtuku. He is starring in Hemo is Home in 2023 and has featured in short film Maumahara (2022) and TWOA Matariki campaign (2022).

Mia Van Oyen
Ngāpuhi, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou

Mia is a young performer who has worked across theatre, film and television. She has appeared in a number of short films, along with a role on the television series Wellington Paranormal. Her theatre credits include Billy and the Curse of Falling Limbs, and Wednesday to Come. Mia grew up in Te Whanganui-a-Tara.