Witi’s Wāhine

  • Venue

    St James Theatre

  • Time


  • Website


In ‘Witi’s Wāhine’, Nancy Brunning places wāhine, whenua and Māori wisdom centre stage. In this work she brings to life the extraordinary wāhine from Witi Ihimaera’s groundbreaking books including ‘The Parihaka Woman’, ‘The Matriarch’, and ‘Pounamu Pounamu’. Brunning lets time, situation and context overlap into a single thread. The result is a compilation of stories told with powerful commentary, unflinching reality, sensitivity, and warm affection.

Brunning (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tūhoe) was an award-winning New Zealand actress, director, and writer. She died in 2019, aged 48, after a long battle with cancer. Brunning made a major contribution to the growth of Māori in the arts and her final work was ‘Witi’s Wāhine’, which premiered at Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival in Gisborne in 2019.

This new production brings ‘Witi’s Wāhine’ to the big stage. It is a collaboration between Auckland Theatre Company and Hāpai Productions, a mana wāhine, kaupapa Māori theatre company Brunning created with Tanea Heke in 2013. Ultimately, this production is a tribute to Brunning and to the wāhine of Te Tairāwhiti (the East Coast).

‘Witi’s Wāhine’ is part of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts. Held every second year, the 2024 festival runs from 23 February to 17 March. The festival features free and ticketed events including dance, music, theatre, visual arts, literature and more.