A B O U T   U S

As a Kaupapa Māori organisation, Te Rākau is guided by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the Treaty’s principles of protection, participation and partnership. 


Aotearoa’s longest surviving independent Māori Theatre company, Te Rākau was established in 1989 by Jim Moriarty and Jerry Banse with a trust deed inherited from the Māori Theatre Trust.


Te Rākau has a proven track record of presenting high quality and socially relevant bi-cultural theatre. A registered Charitable Trust and level 3 Ministry of Youth Development service provider, Te Rākau works in schools, prisons, Marae, rural communities, and youth justice residencies across Aotearoa, using Maori theatre as a tool for change. 

Through its Theatre Marae programme Te Rākau communicates and collaborates with communities to create and present high quality and socially significant theatre works which resonate culturally, therapeutically, and artistically for audience members and participants alike.

The Trust’s kaupapa (core philosophy) is to advocate for Tino Rangatiratanga (sovereignty)

Mana Taurite (equity),and Whanaungatanga (belonging) for all New Zealanders through its unique Theatre Marae framework - a fusion of therapeutic models, ngā mahi a Rēhia, and political theatre, delivered in Kaupapa Māori environment.






The name Te Rākau Hua o te Wao Tapu nui a Tāne was gifted by Ngāti Toa-Raukawa kuia, Harata Horomona, and means “The blossoming fruit tree of our sacred grove.” This refers to the performing arts as an organic base in which artistic and social justice outcomes may be nurtured and allowed to flourish. The logo was developed in 2017, from a 1990 line drawing by master carver Teddy Nia. Along with Manos Nathan, Teddy led a cohort of carvers from the Waipoua Forest to fashion the pou (pictured above) that represent our company and feature in our logo. 

Learn more about our team here.





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