After tonight’s performance of Dog and Bone we were invited to say something. Not to be shy. That if we had something to say there was a space for us to stand and say it. Kei te whakama ahau. Kaore au e tu. Kaore au e korero. I was moved by something but I did not speak. I must learn to stand. Then to speak. Aroha mai, Te Rakau Hua o te Wao Tapu Trust. This is what I should have said.
Toi te kupu. Toi te mana. Toi te whenua. Tihei Mauri Ora. Tena koutou katoa. He mihi tenei ki nga atua Maori. Kei te mihi, kei te mihi. E te roopu performance he mihi tenei ki a koutou. Ka pai to mahi. Kei te mihi, kei te mihi.
He mihi tenei ki a koutou kua haere mai nei i tenei po. Kei te makariri i tenei po. Kei te mihi, kei te mihi.
Ko wai au? Ko Tainui te waka. Ko Ngati Raukawa to iwi. Ko Ngati Tukorehe te hapu. Ko Kris Wehipeihana toku ingoa. Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.
The first time I was in Dunedin, my friend drove me out on the causeway, and told me the story of the caves. It was unbelievable. I could not believe that people would do that to other people. I mean, I know that Dunedin gets hot, I’ve been there when it’s 30 degrees. But I’ve seen pictures of the snow…and that they would work people that hard? And make them live in those conditions? It was unbelievable to me. They were alienated from their land. And that happened in many ways. Like we have seen here tonight.
This play is one of a continuim of New Zealand plays that I am seeing this week. I saw One Day Moko on Tuesday. It’s about homelessness. I saw The Prospect last night. It’s about a gang in small town New Zealand. On Saturday I’m going to see Michael James Manaia. They are all New Zealand stories, they may all be Maori stories. I want to thank you for adding to that continuim. Cast and crew. He mihinui ki a koutou. I particularly want to reference Ngati Irawaru who were there all the time. You were beautiful. Beautiful and terrifying. I loved the mix of traditional performance and the dreamlike sequences that you featured in. Thank you.
The ideas in the script seem very foreign to me. “Half caste” “Nigger” “Savages” ‘We’re all doomed.’ I know we are not perfect, but we’re a long way from doomed. I am grateful that those ideas are so very far away from me. And from what I see in the people around me, and the people I saw on stage. I’m learning Maori, as you are learning your craft. I say that as someone who knows that this is a process that continues over a lifetime. That as you grow, and the stories that you tell change, and the people you tell those stories to change, you learn a little more. Thank you for letting us come on this journey with you. Or at least, this little bit of it. No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.