The full house at Te Pou Theatre in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and then in Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington rose to standing ovations after performances of the Haka Party Incident. These were the first stops on a seven-centre national tour, which include audio described performances and touch tours in five of the seven centres.

Tickets are now on sale, with an extra season at Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival from 4-5 July 2023. The Performing Arts Network of New Zealand (PANNZ) has announced that in addition to Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui a Tara, all performances on the PANNZ leg of the tour in Rotorua, Te Tairāwhiti Gisborne and Ngā Motu New Plymouth are offering a touch tour and audio described performance for the blind and low vision community.

Audio Described Aotearoa is thrilled to be able to provide audio description for these centres, thanks to funding from Manatū Taonga. Director Nicola Owen says: "We are passionate about Māori audio describers bringing the world of Māori arts to blind and low vision audiences across Aotearoa. No one should miss out on understanding history and culture due to lack of access and we hope this is the start of blind people feeling welcome in theatres across the motu.”  

In 1979, University of Auckland engineering students, rehearsing their annual tradition of a mock haka, were confronted by the activist group He Taua. That confrontation led to the nation’s baptism of fire into addressing systemic racism. 

Provocative and resonant, writer and director Katie Wolfe’s (Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Toa Rangatira) The Haka Party Incident combines documentary and kapa haka to thrilling effect. Katie was awarded Best Play by a Māori Playwright as well as The Dean Parker Adaptation for Non-Fiction Award (2021 Adam New Zealand).

“Wolfe has taken an approach reflective of the values we love most as descendants and citizens of Aotearoa: direct, inclusive, humble and with no nonsense.”  – Theatreview, June 2023

“Masterfully brings to life a bold act of resistance ... intensely funny, to heartbreakingly sad in a single beat” – Theatreview

With dynamic performances from Roimata Fox (Ngāti Porou, Rongomaiwahine) Nī Dekkers-Reihana (Ngāi Tu Te Auru, Ngā Puhi), Lauren Gibson, Patrick Tafa , Aidan O’Malley and Kauri Williams (Ngāti Tūwharetoa), the ambitious stage production requires them to play a total of 38 different roles. The students, activists and many others directly involved or impacted in and by The Haka Party Incident were interviewed by writer Katie Wolfe over a two-year period. Their verbatim accounts of what actually happened in 1979 are directly voiced onstage.

Touch tours and audio described performance details are as below. PANNZ, venue and festival partners are pleased to offer free companion seating for "access" patrons attending these performances.

Remaining audio described performances

Rotorua, The Sir Owen Glenn Theatre, Sir Howard Morrison Centre: Wednesday 21 June  | Backstage Touch Tour - Wed 21 June, 5:30-6:00pm | Audio Described Performance: 7:00pm

To book audio described tickets or touch tour, phone 07 351 8094 or email SHMCrequests@rotorualc.nz

Ngā Motu (New Plymouth), TSB Theatre: Wednesday 28 June at | Backstage touch tour at 5.30-6pm | audio described performance: 7pm. To book tickets call 0800 TICKETEK.

To book a place on the touch tour please email ticketnp@npdc.co.nz with your name, how many people in your party, and if you have any additional access requirements.

Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival (Gisborne), Tairāwhiti War Memorial Theatre: 5 July |  6pm |  Touch Tour, 5th July  | 7:30pm |  Audio Described Performance. To book a place on the touch tour and audio described performance email marketing@ttaf.nz or call 06 867 4792 Full season runs 4-5 July, for all other bookings visit the festival website 

Other tour centres:

Tauranga Arts Festival, Baycourt Community and Arts Centre, 19-20 October 2023

On sale: Wed 19 June at 9am through Ticketek

Otautahi (Christchurch) Court Theatre 25 October – 11 November 2023

Book at: courttheatre.org.nz

For media enquiries:

Please contact: michelle@elephantpublicity.co.nz  027 2956450

Audio described tour of The Haka Party Incident


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