Originally published in 1999, this Playmarket edition of the play Purapurawhetū is ever more relevant: Pakeha influence on Māori culture against a backdrop of tragedy.
In the 1990s coastal village of Te Kupenga, tikanga, traditions, and Māori stories thread through a tukutuku panel at the local marae, disclosing tragedy but potential for redemption. Grace-Smith gives a deft realistic writer's touch to adult perceptions around the tragic drowning of a child.
The book’s excellent Foreword by Playmarket publisher David O’Donnell includes reviewers such as John Huria who introduced the earlier Huia edition where Purapurawhetū is described as “the art of raranga … central to the form and subject matter of the play, a way of thinking about rangatiratanga, art, values and traditions when they are met by extraordinary events” (p13).
Other sections include Grace-Smith’s Preface providing thematic inspiration for the play and acknowledging excellent Māori translation by Kerehi Waiariki Dick Grace.
Both Preface and Afterword inform the play with diverse representations of colonialism such as the power styles of NZ national leaders, gumdiggers and land development, all expressed vividly and authentically.
NCEA students will appreciate a comprehensive study notes section, and Grace-Smith’s impressive awards and achievements that underpin her contribution.
Author: BriarGrace-Smith (lives near Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington)
Publisher: Playmarket NZ
Publication: November 2020
Ages: Secondary school seniors and upwards (language unsuitable for juniors)
Reviewer: Michele Ayres, Librarian, Motueka High School, Tasman
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence: Act one, Scene one: Puku up
It is early morning. The stage is lit in cool blues and greens.
Hohepa stares out to sea from the rock pools, looking confused. An empty sack hangs over his shoulder. We hear in a whisper like the wind or tide, the voice of BUBBA.
You can buy this book, and also apply for performance rights here