UPU Collective & PANNZ


06 - 07 Oct 2023


7:00 pm


Gisborne War Memorial Theatre

The power of Māori and Pasifika literature roaring to theatrical life. 

The world of Oceania is not small. From the energetic volcanoes of O’ahu to the southern reaches of Aotearoa, she is borderless and vast -and growing bigger by the day. After decades of dismissal and disconnection, her children are closer than ever. It’s time for a reunion. 

UPU means word. UPU gives the stage to some of Oceania’s most electrifying poets: writers like Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Briar Grace-Smith, Karlo Mila, Hone Tuwhare, Sia Figiel, Ben Brown – they all have a home here. 

In UPU, borders disappear and the theatre becomes a sea of islands. Be transported across an ocean to hear the voices dealing with colonisation, family, climate change, love, sex, religion, power and tourists. 

Performed by a stellar cast of some of the best Tagata Moana actors in Aotearoa NZ – Maiava Nathaniel Lees, Mia Blake, Ana Corbett, Shadon Meredith, James Maeva, Nicola Kawana and Nora Aati. 



Creative Team  

Curator – Grace Iwashita-Taylor 

Director – Fasitua Amosa 

Set Design – Michael McCabe 

Light and Projection Design – Rowan Pierce 

Soundscape Design/ Original Composition – ‘Anonymouz’, aka Faiumu Matthew Salapu 

Costume Design – Kristin Seth 

Artist/ Projection Mamanu Design – Tyla Vaeau 

Movement/ Choreographer – Joash Fahitua 



Maiava Nathaniel Lees  

Mia Blake

Ana Corbett

Shadon Meredith  

James Maeva 

Nicola Kawana  

Nora Aati 



Supported by Creative New Zealand, produced by UPU Collective and presented as part of the PANNZ (Performing Arts Network of New Zealand) touring programme. 


Image credit: Andi Crown

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