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The Star: March 16, 2017

40 Thursday

40 Thursday March 16 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi The Star

The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday March 16 2017 41 Theatre/Arts Actress lands role in mythical love story • By Georgia O’Connor-Harding TAKING ON a leading role in a full Te Reo Maori play has helped Kim Garrett to discover her own cultural roots. Raised by her Pakeha mother, it has only been in the last few years that Garrett, 37, decided to embrace her ancestry and learn more about her iwi Ngāi Tūhoe. “We were taken away from all things Maori, also I had really negative experiences with my father so I didn’t want to know that side,” Garrett, of Linwood said. But she said the more she has grown, the more she has realised she was losing a major influence and, after re-connecting with her half-sister, she hopes to visit her marae this year. As part of embracing her culture, she will be playing two roles – Waitaiki and Hine in a play showcasing the love and tragedy behind the legend of pounamu, or greenstone. The Court Theatre will host the play He Kura E Huna Ana by writer Hōhepa Waitoa. It tells the story of Poutini the taniwha who falls in love with Waitaiki, a woman from the northern seas of the Bay of Plenty who he takes captive. CULTURE: Kim Garrett will play the leading role in a show based on the legend of pounamu. Pursued by Waitaiki’s husband Tamaahua, Poutini realises the only way to keep Waitaiki forever is to turn her into his essence – pounamu. Garrett said legend has it if you find pounamu, it is Poutini allowing you to take one of his hidden treasures as a gift. A modern element to feature in the show will be Garrett playing the role of Hine, a young girl dealing with the loss of her family, who returns to her Maori heritage at the Arahura River and learns the stories of pounamu. The show, commissioned by Taki Rua, will tour around the South Island, with the first performance beginning at the Tūhuru Arahura Marae on the West Coast, where the legend originates. “It is terrifying I am so scared . . . there is such a beauty to it,” Garrett said. Having performed for more than 30 years, Garrett has taken the same approach to learning the Maori language as she would to learning Shakespearian theatre. She said the team behind the show are working to make quality Maori theatre more accessible and “normal” to New Zealanders. “These are good times to challenge people, the status quo and our cultural development,” Garrett said. In her role of teaching at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art and the Hagley Theatre Company, Garrett always encouraged students to take on the Maori language. But she said it was only now that she has “walked her own talk” and is proving the language can be learnt. •He Kura E Huna Ana will be performed at The Court Theatre on March 27. For more information, call 963 0870 Visit www.star.kiwi anytime, anywhere! Breaking news, delivered to your pocket. Fire rages, homes at risk •news •CTV •sport •districts •schools •lifestyle •opinion •what’s on www.star.kiwi