The Theatre of Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu and the Politics of Change
Alan Scott | August 2006
I first met Jim Moriarty when I was sent by the Christchurch Press to review Kia Maumahara at the Christchurch Women’s Prison.
I was impressed enough to offer my services as a voice tutor. Since then I have worked as a dialogue coach and voice tutor on sixteen of Jim’s productions and eventually became a Trustee of his Company.
What follows is not an academic analysis of the work of the Te Rakau Theatre Company, but an attempt by someone who is on the inside, but also reviews theatre from the outside, to explore some of the dimensions of Te Rakau’s work and locate it in a wider context.
More specifically, I am concerned to show the political elements that exist in the work. For all the talk of Maori theatre and rehabilitative theatre that surrounds Te Rakau, for me first and foremeost, its work is a sterling defense of the “children of the poor,” to use John A. Lee’s phrase.
What the theatre does is offer the dispossessed a voice and reveals to the audience the dark face of the capitalist economic system. While the theatre belongs to Te Rakau, these musings are my own. This is basically how I see the work.