N G Ā  K A I M A H I

Te Rakau_2019_Tabitha Arthur Photography



Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Kahungungu, Rangitane, Scots, Norwegian, Italian

“Jim Moriarty may never win an Oscar or get a knighthood for his contribution to the arts, but he

is exactly the kind of guy who should.”

Lynne Freeman - Capital Times

Jim is the co-founder and Rangatira on the paepae auaha of Te Rākau Hua O Te Wao Tapu Trust. He and the company have been creating Theatre as a tool for change since 1989.

A veteran television, film and radio actor with nearly 50 years of professional experience, Jim was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 for Services to the Arts and in 2011 was recognised by the Wellington City Council for his contribution to Wellington Theatre and his work with youth in the community.

His stage and screen roles have been many and varied, and include Close to Home (1975-83), Death of The Land (1978), Michael James Manaia (1994) Saving Grace (1997), The Strength of Water (2009), and Mahana (2016). In October 2019 his epic four-part theatre project UNDERTOW screens on Māori Television.


Jim’s leadership of Te Rākau and commitment to theatre as a tool for change, combined with his experience as a registered psychiatric nurse, his skills as a performer and a director, and his dedication and aroha for those he works with has helped train and develop a huge number of theatre practitioners and well as change the lives of many of this country’s most vulnerable people.

"Our kaupapa for theatre is that it belongs to everybody and if we don’t nurture

the next generation of practitioners and audience members then it is to our detriment.

I produce theatre, I direct theatre, I perform in stuff, and it’s all

really to do with the emancipation of people, freedom and liberation of people.
All the work I’ve done with Te Rākau is along those lines.

All the theatre I’ll continue to do in the future will be about using theatre as a tool for change." 

Te Rakau_2019_Tabitha Arthur Photography



Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Ruanui  

“She is a consummate dramatist whose work is, I believe, destined for classical status.” 

John Smythe  | Theatreview

Helen is a registered, practicing Psychologist nearing the completion of her PHD. 

A compelling and eloquent writer, whose profoundly well-researched plays weave history and imagination to tell stories that are integral to the fabric of Aotearoa culture and society. Helen's plays form the heart of the creative work produced by Te Rākau.


Helen is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, and Massey University. Critics have called her work “mythical, magical – and majestic”. They have found her writing “exquisite”, “uncompromising”, “stirring”, “richly textured, insightful, humorous, sobering and energising”. 

Helen’s plays in performance have repeatedly garnered standing ovations and ‘must-see’ status. All of these accolades – and more – are deserved. Helen is engaging with Aotearoa’s bicultural history and our place in the world through a unique blend of captivating characters, gripping narratives, emotional pathos and witty humour. 


As a writer and facilitator Helen has contributed to Te Rākau’s residential work in prisons, youth residential homes, and on Marae since 1999. 

"What are all these things that brought us here? 

What are all the issues,

what do we need to turn and face? 

How do we go forward? 

The people in Undertow are like us, just people, flesh and blood who made choices and decisions, for whatever reason, in the context of what was happening around them."