Kikia Te Poa

Cast 4m
ISBN 978 1 877319 129
Teachers' discount $17
RRP $22.50

Kikia Te Poa
Matthew Saville

Based on real events, Kikia Te Poa is the story of John Cook - a 'Maorish' (Ngapuhi/Irish) Maori who ventures into the Anglo-South African War to prove himself and the value of his people to a changing New Zealand. Although Maori were not allowed to fight in the Boer War, many mixed blood men did, and one of them was John Walter Callaway, who wrote a haka for the Kiwi troops - Kikia Te Poa.

Kikia Te Poa
is a funny, physical, and moving look at the relationship between New Zealand and South Africa, Maori and Pakeha, the colonial past and its legacy. With strong physicality, fierce writing and deft humour, Saville’s play explores the nature of war, masculinity, and the enduring appeal of thirty men and an odd-shaped ball.

The Boer War saw the birth of concentration camps, New Zealand's status as a warrior nation - and also international rugby. Most importantly it saw the beginning of a rivalry between two countries that would last one hundred years - on the rugby field, and in the politics of two very different nations.

Contains an insightful introduction from Greg McGee, writer of the classic play Foreskin’s Lament.

"Just when the cold winter nights make the prospect of going to see a play a bit of a chore, along comes ‘Kikia Te Poa’, a play that revives one's faith in the many pleasures that theatre can provide. ... Though set in South Africa during the Boer War, the complex ironies of racial and national identity that Saville explores in his tense and exciting new play … are highly contemporary."Dominion Post

"Kikia Te Poa is a heady mix of history, rugby, racism and the story of a young nation forging an identity for itself."London Fringe Review

"The former Southwark Playhouse is now dedicated to presenting the arts of the Pacific to London audiences. If Stella Duffy’s production of Matthew Saville's ‘Kikia te Poa’ proves representative, it should turn out to be a rewarding experiment."Time Out ****

"... the play straddles between comic interplay, largely dramatised by goofy Charlie, and some very provocative dialogue revolving around the idea of racial and national identity and the brutal and senseless nature of war."Sydney Stage

"A well constructed exploration of muscular, masculine nationalism and divided identities."Sydney Morning Herald

"... to create a rugby match played more than a hundred years ago during this country’s first overseas war campaign, between English prisoners of war and soldiers from one of England newest colonies, opens up all kind of opportunities. (The writer) grabs them and runs with them and scores a try every time."Capital Times

Born in South Africa in 1977 and moving to New Zealand with his family shortly after the tumultuous Springbok tour of 1981, Matthew is a writer, director and actor. A graduate of Otago University, Toi Whakaari and Victoria University, Matthew has a Masters degree in screenwriting, a Bachelor of Performing Arts from the New Zealand Drama School and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Otago.

Matthew's first play The Boxer has successfully toured the country and won him a nomination for best new writer in the 1993 Chapman Tripp Awards. Kikia te Poa has played to critical acclaim in Sydney, Australia and London, as well as NZ.

Matthew’s television credits include helping develop the Insiders Guide to Love for the Gibson Group and writing for Shortland Street. He is now working on adapting the story into a feature film as well as working on his documentary about legendary world champion boxer Bob Fitzsimmons, and several other film and theatre projects currently in development.

"Being half South African and half Kiwi I wanted to write a piece that reflects the relationship between my two countries. The South African War or Boer War was New Zealand’s first war outside the lands wars. In Kikia Te Poa, this small piece of history becomes a metaphor for New Zealand history and the development of our own identity... Nice honest people don’t make the news very often. Kikia Te Poa tries to dispel the myth that Afrikaners have nothing more to offer the world then apartheid and hate. In doing so it challenges preconceptions that people have about any race and colour."Matthew Saville