Ngā Kākano o Aronui

The New Works Project

Ngai Māori







From $35

Monarch Room @ The Prince's Gate, 1057 Arawa St, Rotorua

Come and celebrate the seeds of 5 brand new works from the local and national musical theatre and theatre makers.

Read on for more info on the works being presented. It's not a night to be missed!


Fiona Collins

Grandpa's Angel

Grandpa’s Angel is a play that was seeded during my ten years living in Samoa, as a monologue that was never developed into a full-length play.


Set over several generational time periods, Grandpa’s Angel follows the life of Kirisitina, an afa-kasi (half-caste) Maori/Samoan woman and her poignant and often humorous journey as she faces the hurdles of growing up between worlds in a time that was often fraught with ignorance, prejudice and cultural invisibility. 

After losing her parents at the age of seven, she is sent to Samoa to be brought up by her Grandparents and after being joyfully and proudly shown off she soon adapts to the Fa’aSamoa and life in the village. But in her heart, she feels her otherness, the deep-seated feeling of being different and as she grows up, she feels the call “home” become stronger.


Grandpa’s Angel is a universal coming of age story, flavoured with the fusion of Fa’aSamoa and Maoritanga as Kirisitina navigates the world of self-discovery, identity, deep familial and romantic love, and all the people she meets along the way.


This work is to be developed over the next year and will not only showcase a local cast, but will be performed for the first time as part of the Aronui Arts Festival 2020.

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Julie Edwards

Te Mauri, Mum and Me (pictured above)

If every daughter contains her mother and all the women who came before her, then our Kuia’s dreams and aspirations are part of our whakapapa.

To be healthy and happy, each of us must get to know the ways in which our mothers' history continues to influence our state of health, our beliefs and how we live our lives. In ngā tamahine lies the joy and pain of her Kōkara and Tūpuna wahine. We are old friends helping one another to creative a legacy of Hauora.  

In 1929, A young Māori girl, still in her teens, auditioned for and won principal soprano for the ‘Colombia record Company’ recordings of The Rotorua Maori Choir. Tunohopu was transformed into a recording studio, waiata into choral arrangements, auditions and rehearsals held and 31 recordings were made. Perhaps for those choir members, the memory of that contact under strange circumstances has waned, but for Te Mauri it remained in her heart forever. I never met my Nanny yet I hear her in myself and in the voices of her mokopuna.

From Waiata to Opera, 1970s guitar parties, 1980s hair salons, 1990’s jazz clubs, Musical Theatre and even ‘Spotify’, her ‘Mauri’ is preserved in song, enabling her to continue singing…

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Krissie Knap

A night with Krissie

Born, raised, buttered and toasted right here in our beautiful city of Rotorua, Krissie has performed with many great artists both here in New Zealand and Australia. Starting in the Hotels doing Maori Concerts Krissie found her passion in music after winning a talent quest at the Tudor Towers night club. From there she has performed at many events and early this year she was part of the cast in 8 Scott Ave the Musical also on stage at this year's Lakeside Concert 'Tatau Tatau' to being one of the MC's at the Te Arawa kapa haka regionals. Krissie also has a live singing show on Facebook on a Saturday night #raise the vibration.

Krissie has written a story about her singing life filled with songs that she walks down memory lane and a few laughs along the way. The show is titled ' A night with Krissie'.


Bobbie Mihi Howard

Ko Tāua (You and I)

Ko Tāua (You and I) is a bilingual musical in english and māori. This tells the story of an English officer Farren Barton and Maori puhi (princess) Hinemāia who fall in love after his regiment arrives  in Aotearoa. Set in the 1840s post treaty, Officer Farren meets Hinemaia  and is instantly taken by her quick wit, sharp tongue and beauty.


The story tells of their love for each other and the difficulties of coming from two different worlds. There are twists in the story and quirky characters that unfold however the songs portray the essence of the storyline.

Bobby Mihi Howard

Rongowhakaata/Ngai Tamanuhiri/Ngapuhi/Ngati Pikiao


Bobby was brought up in Manutuke, a small rural township just south of Gisborne. Known for her community and youth development work, Bobby is a strong advocate for the arts in Rotorua and has a passion for youth arts.

Previous to her move to Rotorua, Bobby was in the throes of a Jazz degree majoring in voice at Auckland University and an active participant in the Auckland music scene before her move to the Bay of Plenty.  She has a Bachelor in Performing Arts and Teaching.

Locally she has previously taught as a private vocal teacher and choir director for primary schools and is currently choir director for Te Ao Marama Choir. Bobby’s accolades include being part of the local music scene with covers band STAVE and often sings with jazz pianist Ben Wilcock where she participated in the Wellington Jazz Festival. Bobby sits on committees around the arts such as BOP Blues, Rotorua Jazz Club and is currently president for Rotorua Musical Theatre. 

Bobby launched some of her songs from her musical at the Aronui Festival last year with other new works such as 8 Scott Ave in which she played Aunty Blossom. She then got to feature her musical at the Tairawhiti Arts Festival in 2019.

The September showcase will be a sing through of songs with members of the cast. The songs have developed and new material is written so there is more to feature at Aronui Festival 2020.


All music and songs are written by Bobby and most won’t know she was an avid songwriter before she was known for her singing.

©2019 Aronui Festival