Maraea Rakuraku

Inducted 2019
Marsden Years: 1982-1986 (Form3/Year9 – Form 7/Year 13)
This award recognises Maraea Rakuraku’s achievements as a storyteller, playwright, poet, writer and broadcaster informed by her Tūhoe and Ngāti Kahungunu whakapapa.  

Maraea brings her whakapapa, advocacy and heart to her all her work. She is currently completing a Doctorate in Creative Writing: Screenwriting  at the International Institute of Modern Letters. The exegesis, My Great great grandmother was a Māori Princess examines the portrayals of wāhine  Māori in contemporary film and theatre while, the creative component of the thesis, speaks back to said portrayals in a feature length film script, Te Whārua; and two full length stage plays – 0402161007 (the second play of the Te Urewera Trilogy) and Pōhutu,  a solo work (featuring over 30 characters), set at a land occupation. 

In 2016, Maraea won the Adam Award for Best Play for Tan-knee, the first play in the Te Urewera Trilogy, a series of plays centred within Te Urewera  about issues impacting upon Tūhoe identity.  In the same awards she won Best Play by a Female Playwright and Best Play by a Māori playwright. In the Adam Awards, the following year, she was awarded Best Play by a Māori Playwright for Te Papakāinga.  In 2012 she won the Chapman Tripp Theatre  Award (now Wellington Theatre Awards)  for Outstanding New Playwright for her play The Prospect. 

She has been published in several volumes of short stories and poetry nationally and internationally and translated into French, German and Spanish. Most recently she co-edited and featured in Tatai Whetu: Seven Wahine Māori Poets in translation. 

Maraea is deeply involved in the creation, promotion and sustainability of  Māori creative arts and, as a critic, thinker, and scholar, challenging views about Māori and wahine Māori.  She founded Native Agency Aotearoa, a company developed to grow the indigenous and minority voice across multi-media platforms specifically for this purpose.   She is also founder and member of DuskyMaidensNobleSavages a troupe of Māori Pacifiika poets who bring to light Pasifika and Māori issues and their impact to the Pacific region in the 21st century.

Maraea tutors playwriting at the Annual National Youth Drama School in Havelock  North.      

 Maraea is a strong voice on issues which affect Māori especially Māori women.  

She writes  

'"Whakamanawahine" are those physical and spiritual aspects of tikanga Māori that enhance the role of wahine Māori, that is, those spaces of Te Ao Māori specifically held by wahine Māori eg: karanga, whakanoa, te whare tangata, waiata. I will argue that whakamanawahine aids the deeper interpretation and development of wahine Māori characters and of course, tikanga Māori.'[i] 

Maraea first entered radio broadcasting at Canterbury University as an undergraduate share hosting the Māori Radio Programme with her flatmates. Following a period, creating and lecturing in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori papers  at the NZ Chiropractic School she co-created and hosted a Māori Issues Programme, Ngā Manu Aute at Radio Waatea, Auckland and an Indigenous Music Show at KFM. This only ended when she returned to Te Urewera as one of seven claimants in the Te Urewera Waitangi Tribunal Claim. Her longest stint in radio, was co-creating, co-hosting and producing Te Ahi Kaa at Radio New Zealand.     


           

[i] https://www.victoria.ac.nz/modernletters/our-students/phd-profiles/maraea-rakuraku