Maraea Rakuraku

Maraea will write three new plays, while examining representations of wahine Māori in theatre, and of tikanga Māori that whakamanawahine in theatre.

Commenced 2017

Nō Te Urewera ahau. He Rakuraku nō te Waimana Kaaku.

Maraea is a proudly indigenous storyteller who is very much shaped by her Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu whakapapa and whānau i te wharua o Te Waimana Kaaku. She has been described as powerful, epic and as a force of nature. All of which is reflected in her writing. She brings truth, intellect and heart, whether reviewing (Theatreview, Pantograph Punch), radio broadcasting (Radio New Zealand, Radio Waatea, Te Upoko o Te Ika), podcasting, playwriting or performance poetry.

In 2016 she completed the MA in Creative Writing (Script) at Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters. Read about Maraea's MA experience.

She has twice won the Adam Award for Best Play by a Māori Playwright; for Te Papakāinga in 2017 and for Tan-Knee (Part 1 of Te Urewera Trilogy) in 2016, which also won the Adam Awards for Best Play and Best Play by a Woman Playwright in the same year. In 2012, she won Outstanding New Playwright, at the Chapman Tripp Awards (now the Wellington Theatre Awards) for The Prospect.

Maraea's poetry has been published by Auckland University Press, Hawai'i University Press, Otago University and Seraph Press and her short stories have been published by Huia Publishers.In 2018 she co-edited, with Vana Manasiadis, Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation (Seraph Press)

In 2012 she founded the spoken word troupe DuskyMaidensNobleSavages; comprised of poet’s representative of Te Moana-nui-a-kiwa, speaking back to issues impacting upon their Nations and respective 21st century identities. She is also the founder of Native Agency Aotearoa Ltd, a Boutique Media and Production house focussed on growing Indigenous and minority voice.

Maraea will write three new plays from the perspectives of wahine Māori, including the second play in her Te Urewera Trilogy. She also intends to establish and curate Manawahine Māori; an annual, week-long, (initially) Wellington-based festival at which all three plays will be presented. Her critical component will investigate representations of wahine Māori in theatre, and representations of tikanga Māori that whakamanawahine in theatre.

Maraea writes: '"Whakamanawahine" are those physical and spiritual aspects of tikanga Māori that enhance the role of wahine Māori, that is, those spaces of Te Ao Māori specifically held by wahine Māori eg: karanga, whakanoa, te whare tangata, waiata. I will argue that whakamanawahine aids the deeper interpretation and development of wahine Māori characters and of course, tikanga Māori.'

Playmarket profile

Pantograph Punch contributor page

Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori Women Poets in Translation (Seraph Press, 2018)

Maraea interviewed by Sam Brooks (The Spinoff, 30 August 2017)

Triple win for Maraea Rakuraku at Adam NZ Play Awards (2016)