Published in: Kokiri Issue 18 - Haratua - Piripi 2010
Written by David Geary, sponsored by Te Puni Kōkiri and set in 1895 Whanganui, Mark Twain and Me in Māoriland is a comedy, drama and musical all in one.
Inspired by Mark Twain’s lecture tour of New Zealand, the production tells the story of land wars, Māori turning on their own, and Twain’s account of his time in Whanganui from entries in his diary.
In 1895 the early settlers showed Mark Twain a statue created in honour of the Moutoa – Māori fighting on the side of the English. It is reported that Mark Twain said it should be toppled for encouraging natives to become traitors to their race. Twain then said that the rebel Māori, those dedicated to protecting their land, were in fact the country’s true patriots.
Mark Twain and Me in Māoriland takes a different approach to telling the stories of New Zealand history, in ways that make the performance stand out. Some scenes are scripted in te reo with other cast members translating from the stage, and actors playing instruments and singing comedy segments or Māori waiata. Mark Twain even plays the electric guitar...
“…another commendable New Zealand production, giving a fascinating insight into a little-known piece of history that resonates as much with today as it does with the past.” Ewen Coleman, The Dominion Post.