Transcript – two minutes with Kura Te Ua: haka theatre director/choreographer/tutor

Two minutes with Kura Te Ua: haka theatre director/choreographer/tutor

Kura Te Ua: Kia ora, my name is Kura Te Ua. I was born and raised in Auckland, Tamaki Makaurau, but I have roots in the Far North, a place called Whangape and also Gisborne, Waiohiki and Opotiki. I'm a tutor or kaiako Māori performing arts and haka theatre and also the co-artistic director for Hawaiki TU.

Johnson Raela: It's the first time I've heard of this term "haka theatre". Where did it come from? Did you make it up yourself? Can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Kura Te Ua: So, haka theatre was first, I guess you could say, born, the term, with the production called Arohanui in 2011, combining elements of kapa haka, Māori dance and theatre, and so it was born by a few people, I was just the one that picked it up and ran with it.

Johnson: Just going back to you growing up, were you always this energetic, quite fiery character in terms of dance, were you always a performer?

Kura Te Ua: I was very, very, very, very, stupidly shy, yeah. It was like a taniwha that sat on my shoulder a lot of the time. I was very shy and to this day I think haka, or kapa haka brought this out of me. Totally whipped it out. We were bought up in a Black Power village in Otahuhu, so you can imagine what kind of life that was. But what it did teach me was that I could either go one way or the other, I could go one extreme, down the same way that I had seen or the experiences that I beared witness to or I could go the opposite way, and myself and my bro we chose to go the opposite way, through kapa haka we were able to do that though.

Johnson: For our young people out there who may not fit into a particular box but are creative like you, what are some tips you can give them to maybe even pursue a dance career?

Kura Te Ua: Sometimes our rangatahi don't actually know that that's what they're good at until someone comes and pulls it out of them. If they know that they like to dance then attach themselves to programmes like the Certificate in Performing Arts, attach themselves to crews or companies that exist where they can surround themselves and feed the fire.

Updated 28 Oct 2016