Four women. Infinite strength. A love song to mana wāhine.

Witi’s Wāhine

by Nancy Brunning

10 MAY - 28 MAY 2022 — POSTPONED



Auckland Theatre Company


ASB Waterfront Theatre


1 hour 20 minutes, no interval



We are sorry to advise that the co-production between Auckland Theatre Company and Hāpai Productions of Nancy Brunning's Witi's Wāhine is postponed. 

Witi’s Wāhine is a large-scale kaupapa that would be rehearsing and performing over the coming months. If we start making it, there is a high risk the production would have to be paused or even cancelled due to COVID-19 cases and isolation periods. We also have ongoing uncertainty about gathering size limits and for Witi’s Wāhine, we cannot present the show to just 100 people. That means we will reschedule Witi’s Wāhine into 2023.

When it does hit the boards in 2023, it is going to be very special.

If you are a ticket holder, you will receive an email advising you of your ticketing options. The box office is fielding a large number of requests and we greatly appreciate your patience. 

About the play 

An uplifting love song to the wāhine toa of the East Coast who inhabit Witi Ihimaera’s celebrated writing.

Four wāhine take their journeys through history and mythology, sharing tears, jokes and waiata along the way. But these are no ordinary women – they’re matriarchs of New Zealand fiction, finally stepping out from the shadows.

In Witi Ihimaera’s books, characters spring from the page, fully formed and opinionated. Here, some of his most memorable characters, from works like The Parihaka Woman, The Matriarch and Pounamu Pounamu, step onto the stage.

The result is Witi’s Wāhine, a love letter or, more accurately, a love song, to the women of Te Tairāwhiti, the East Coast, who inhabit Ihimaera’s writing: the wāhine of his own whānau. Nancy Brunning has crafted a story that fuses loving tribute with powerful commentary, levity with unflinching reality, sensitivity with warm affection.

“Nancy Brunning was a towering theatrical talent and in this, her final work, she gifts us a beautiful ode to wāhine Māori.” – Jonathan Bielski

A co-production between Auckland Theatre Company and Hāpai Productions.

Mihi aroha to Tama Waipara and the Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival for their tautoko and manaaki. They provided the pathway for Nancy’s vision. Tama was unshakeable in his belief in our māreikura and her writing. Hāpai Productions acknowledges the role Tama plays in bringing this beautiful tribute to life.


Special Events

Backstage Story (Cancelled)

Tuesday 26 Apr 6:00pm
Discover the world behind the curtain at Backstage Story, a behind-the-scenes presentation with the director, designers and cast. Backstage Story is free to attend at our studios at 487 Dominion Road.


Sunday Forum (Cancelled)

Sunday 15 May 4:00pm
Join us at the ASB Waterfront Theatre auditorium, before the 4pm performance, to hear from a special guest speaker and enrich your experience of the show.


Youth Night (Cancelled)

Tuesday 17 May 7:00pm
Youth Night explores new ways to connect young people to the transformational magic of theatre, with a dedicated youth performance of each production, curated and hosted by our Youth Company.

Accessible Performances

Audio-Described & Touch Tour (Cancelled)

Saturday 21 May 2:00pm
Audio-described performances are open to all and include a live audio commentary relayed to blind and low-vision patrons in the audience via an earpiece. Patrons with accessibility tickets can also attend a touch-tour 90 minutes before the performance. 


NZSL-Interpreted (Cancelled)

Saturday 28 May 8:00pm
NZSL-interpreted performances are open to all and feature an interpreter on stage to interpret the show for Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons in the audience.


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