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Louise Potiki-Bryant

Onepū is a striking and powerful new dance work choreographed by Louise Potiki Bryant.

This expression of mana wahine - the intrinsic spiritual power of women has been inspired by a Kāi Tahu tradition as told by their rangatira Teone Taare Tikao in the book 'Tikao Talks — Traditions and Tales of the Canterbury Maori as told by Teone Taare Tikao to Herries Beattie'. Onepū (sand) is named to reflect the sand bank Pikopiko-i-whiti which encircles the world and upon which six atua wahine (female deities) stand within the different directions of the wind. These atua are strong forces of nature with the enormous power of controlling and releasing the principal winds of the world. Meet Hine-aroaro-pari whose echoes are heard on sea cliffs, Hine-rōriki-controller of the unruly northerly winds, Hine-aroraki, Māui’s mother whose name denotes the soaring flight of birds, Hine-pū-nui-o-toka from the south — the mother of all winds and Māui’s grandmother, Hine-rōtia who releases the west winds, one of which brings tidings of those who have passed on and Hine-hauone from the north east, who finds Māui at sea wrapped in a cloth and nurses him to life.

Atmospheric lighting, unique costumes and skilled video design paint a sophisticated visual landscape. Within a black sand circle, the six transcendent performers dance to an original musical score composed by Paddy Free and Ariana Tikao, combining electronic music with the haunting sounds of taonga pūoro. Luscious solo moments of intensity merge with the power of the ensemble to embody these wild forces of nature and invoke a range of atmospheres inviting meditation on the different qualities each atua wahine brings to us.

“A moving and powerful piece... mesmerising.” — Dione Joseph, New Zealand Herald

“Stunning images...luscious and strong, powerful and frenetic...” — Sue Cheesman, Theatreview

  • 2019
  • Gallagher Performing Arts Centre, Hamilton
  • Forum North, Whangarei
  • Te Ahu, Kaitaia
  • Soundings Theatre, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington
  • James Hay Theatre, Chirstchurch Arts Festival
  • TSB Showplace, Winter Fest, New Plymouth
  • 2018
  • Premiere, Q Theatre Auckland, Tempo Dance Festival
  • Creative New Zealand
  • Foundation North
  • Osborne Shiwan
  • White Studios
  • Choreography
  • Creative Team
  • Performers
  • Ngā mihi ki Ngā hapū o Kāi Tahu whānui
  • Louise Potiki Bryant
  • Music: Paddy Free, Ariana Tikao
  • Lighting: Vanda Karolczak
  • Costume: Rona Ngahuia Osborne
  • Video: Louise Potiki Bryant
  • Louise Potiki Bryant: Hine-pū-nui-o-toka
  • Ariana Tikao: Hine-aroaro-pari / Vocalist / Taonga Pūoro
  • Jessica Johns: Hine-aroraki
  • Imogen Tapara: Hine-hauone
  • Rosie Tapsell: Hine-rōriki
  • Presley Ziogas: Hine-rōtia
  • He mahi whakahirahira tēnei ki tōku whānau, kua whakatinanahia te kōrero a tō mātou Pōua, a Teone Taare Tikao.
  • The Tikao whānau are honoured to see our Pōua's story come alive through this work. As a descendant of Teone Taare Tikao it is a privilege to be involved with bringing these atua wahine, spoken about in 'Tikao Talks', into the present.