Atamira Dance Company
Te houhi poster image

Hope and Hardship unite to carry the hearts and homes of a people.

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A turbulent time in New Zealand’s history will be retold through the medium of Contemporary Dance. Te Houhi, Choreographed by Maaka Pepene, is the first work where Atamira tackles a political theme. 

The story chronicles the history of the Patuheuheu, Ngāti Haka hapu of the Tuhoe iwi, from mythical beginnings, to their ultimate place in Aotearoa today. Deep in the misty Urewera ranges Te Kooti, Māori prophet and freedom fighter finds refuge from government pursuit in the Tuhoe people. Labeled rebels for harboring Te Kooti, land confiscation, Scorched Earth military tactics, and war ensue leaving Tuhoe land and people tragically ravaged and dispossessed.

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One devastating crime of trust was the unlawful seizure of the sacred Pa Te Houhi. The Te Houhi wharenui, inlaid with early Māori figurative art, and central to the Ringatu faith was precious to the hearts of the people. In a time of hopelessness and terror for Tuhoe, Te Kooti brings unity and hope in the Ringatu faith and his powerful prophecies, “all that was taken will be returned”. 

Fulfilling this prophecy the Te Houhi Whare is returned to Tuhoe and in a poignant act symbolising the spirit and political defiance characteristic of Ngāi Tuhoe, the people carry their sacred building several miles by hand to a new settlement, reclaiming with it their faith in each other, their land, and Te Kooti. Te Houhi explores the hope and unity of a people who are affected by injustices common to Māori during colonisation.

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During the Rugby World Cup and as part of the REAL NZ Festival Te Houhi, premieres in September headlining ‘The Q Theatre Season of Maori Dance and Theatre’. From Sept 21–25th, Q theatre will be the hot-spot for New Zealand’s leading Maori Dance & Theatre companies: Atamira Dance Company, Tawata Productions & Taki Rua Theatre

Show poster
Te houhi poster image

Maaka Pepene | Tuhoe Potiki, Ngāti Hine

AV Design

Louise Potiki Bryant | Kāi Tahu

Lighting Design

Vanda Karolczak

Kakahu Design

Marama Lloydd | Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa

Set Design

John Verryt 

Music Score

Paddy Free

International Sound Collaborator

Stephen Hussey


Michael Parmenter