The year is 1965. A Maori family, recently migrated to the South Island from the North Island's east cape, prepares to celebrate a birthday with their Pakeha guests. In this cultural borderland, freshly-forged identities are passports presented for a passage to prosperity. Yet origins cannot be easily forgotten. Waiora is compelling, comic, devastating. Exploring differing interpretations of home and belonging, it addresses, in Kouka's words, "all of us who have travelled from somewhere else." The critically acclaimed Waiora was commissioned by the 1996 Wellington International Festival of the Arts, where it played to sell out audiences. Since its initial success the play has travelled internationally and has become a set text for secondary and tertiary courses.
The youngest writer to ever win the Bruce Mason Award in 1992, Hone Kouka is a leading light in contemporary Maori theatre. He is also a short story writer, poet, children's writer, actor and is currently writing a novel.