Turangawaewae: A Place to Stand in Contemporary Indigenous performance in Australasia and beyond

Nicola Hyland, Liza Mare Syron, Maryrose Casey

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationEditorial


The opening image of this Special Issue of the Australasian Drama Studies journal comes from The Vultures, a contemporary Indigenous satire written and directed by Tawata Productions’ Mīria George (Te Arawa; Ngati Awa; Rarotonga and Atiu, Cook Islands), and staged at Wellington’s BATS theatre as part of the Kia Mau Festival in 2017. The Vultures plays around with the politics of place; of native ecologies versus the National Economy; of the negotiation of Indigenous identities between town and country; of the rejection of the passive ‘Ecological Indigene’ trope; and of the literal ways we trace our whakapapa (lineage) to the landscapes of our ancestors. It envisions an Indigenous Aristocracy, dominated by an internally conflicted whānau (family) of exceptional Māori wāhine (women), engaged in power struggles for wealth and control of a new Empire. The central conflict in this narrative conflates the whakataukī(proverb) about the causes of war: He wāhine, he whenua, ka ngaro te tangata – often translated as‘For women and land, men perish’ – where the battle over a contested territory is fought by resistant Indigenous women, on their own behalf. This image speaks to an intrinsic premise behind this long-awaited Special Issue: that Indigenous voices are diverse, rich and complex.There is no such thing as a typical Indigenous play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages 1-16
Specialist publicationAustralasian Drama Studies
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • New South Wales
  • Native Peoples
  • Theater
  • Actors
  • Topography
  • Collective Memory
  • Editorial
  • Bats
  • Negotiation


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