Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana

“Lip Syncing is what I consider one of life’s greatest guilty pleasures. It brings joy, laughter and alongside dancing, can take away stress, improve mood and reduce depression.”

With the first reading presented at Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival 2020 – Lip Sync, Kanikani, Twerk Off! is an award-winning play by homegrown talent Te Huamanuka Luiten-Apirana.

An actor, writer, producer and now director, Manuka grew up in Waikato and Te Tairāwhiti. After attending Ngata Memorial College and Gisborne Girls High School, she went on to study acting at South Seas Film and Television School and The Actor’s Program in Auckland.

Since graduating, Manuka has worked as an actor, known for her role as Shardae in TV drama, Head High. Lip Sync, Kanikani, Twerk Off! is her first play and recently won the 2021 Playmarket Playwrights B4 25 Award.

“For the most part, the play represents how to find light through rough seas, the girls finding light the only way they know how, with the only support system they have – each other,” she says.

“The first step towards tackling issues is starting the conversation. A few topics this play addresses are dysfunctional relationships within families, avoiding conflict and suffering in silence, grief within a whānau, grief with teenagers and the difficulty to articulate emotions.”

“Art holds the special responsibility of addressing these issues and reflecting them to the world to start this conversation.”

Making her directing debut, under the guidance of Ngapaki Moetara, and with an all-new local cast, get along to see local talent at Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival 2021.

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