Taera, Awenga: Sexuality, Power

Mark Hamilton

Abstract


A Māori-Pasifika dance crew called Torotoro was formed in 2000 to help create a song and dance show called Mika HAKA.[1] The dancers were in their teenage years and early twenties. The show sought to amplify, for British stages, the burlesque performance of takataapui (gay Māori) identity, through which Mika (then aged 38) had carved out a unique niche for himself in the UK fringe festival circuit. I was his international collaborator, supporting creation, development and touring of Mika HAKA. On the surface, Mika HAKA was a flirtatious, sexualised, glamorous and just-about family-friendly reworking of the concert party show format that is the core of touristic renderings of Māori culture. At the same time, it integrated hip-hop and other contemporary pop references. This reflected Mika’s commitment to the juxtaposition of Māori-Pasifika performance with aesthetics and forms circulating globally as an expression of the complexities of (his) urban Māori identity.


[1]      Mika HAKA debuted 25 January 2001 at the Maidment Theatre, Auckland (New Zealand). Its international premiere was 1August 2002 at Dance Base – National Centre for Dance, Edinburgh (Scotland). The production toured widely in New Zealand, and in 2003 visited Adelaide (Australia), and revisited Edinburgh.


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