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Photo: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch
Photo: Te Rawhitiroa Bosch
Photo: Philip Merry
Photo: Philip Merry

by John Broughton
directed by Nathaniel Lees
Taki Rua Productions


at Downstage Theatre, Wellington
From 25 Feb 2012 to 4 Mar 2012

Centrepoint, Palmerston North
From 10 Mar 2012 to 17 Mar 2012

Downstage - return season, Wellington
1 Sep 2012

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland
From 5 Sep 2012 to 15 Sep 2012

Fortune Theatre, Dunedin
From 2 Feb 2013 to 16 Feb 2013

Reviewed by:  Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] (The Dominion Post); Helen SimsLynn Freeman (Capital Times); Richard MaysJohn RossJohn SmytheTamati PatuwaiJanet McAllister (New Zealand Herald); Terry MacTavishBarbara Frame (Otago Daily Times);

“This play has become one of the icons of New Zealand theatre.” The Dominion Post

Twenty years after it burst onto the stages of the world, John Broughton's iconic New Zealandplay Michael James Manaia returns for its Festival encore.

Taki Rua Productions' Michael James Manaia is the poignant story of a New Zealander who returns home from the Vietnam War to find himself at odds with his culture, his history and his memories. We follow his journey through childhood, family, love, grief, violence, conflict and passion.

After premiering at Wellington's Downstage Theatre in 1991, this heart-wrenching one-man show went on to the Edinburgh Festival and celebrated performances across the globe. Michael James Manaia is directed by the award-winning Nathaniel Lees and stars Te Kohe Tuhaka in the title role. Tuhaka's recent film and television highlights include Billy, Waitangi: What Really Happened and Go Girls. His stage credits include Silo Theatre's acclaimed production of The Brothers Size.

Taki Rua's new vision of Michael James Manaia crosses the generations, proving to be as insightful and relevant today as when it was first written. Raw, humorous and unsentimental in its telling, Michael James Manaia is a theatrical experience quintessentially of, and about, Aoteoroa.

The 2012 Downstage Solos include Circle of Eleven's Leo, Royale Productions' Frequently Asked Questions and Taki Rua's Michael James Manaia.

Michael James Manaia
at Downstage Theatre
from 25 February to 4 March
Tickets $43 – $48 available from Ticketek.

Downstage Members will receive Friends of the Festival discount for Michael James Manaia by booking at any Ticketek agency or box office using their Downstage Members' Society card. 

We are also proud to announce that this production will be participating in the 2012  Melbourne Festival!

Returning for a second national  tour in 2012, Michael James Manaia will be coming to stages in the following cities;

1 Sep 2012 
Taki Rua is presenting two tour fundraiser performances of Michael James Manaia at Downstage (3pm & 7.30pm), to raise money towards freight, airfares and accommodation. Tickets are $30 ($25 concession) and are available from or 801-6946. 

Q Theatre 
5th - 15th of September

Capitaine Bougainville Theatre 
18th & 19th September

New Plymouth 
Theatre Royal 
22nd & 23rd September  


Fortune Theatre 
2 – 16 February 2013 

Opening Night / Saturday, 2 February 7.30pm, Fortune Theatre.

Member's Briefing / Sunday, 3 February meet at the Fortune bar at 3.00pm and join Fortune Theatre Artistic Director Lara Macgregor for a lively informal chat about Michael James Manaia

Forum / Tuesday, 5 February Q & A session with the cast and crew post 6.00pm show.

Fortune Sociable Club / Wednesday, 6 February meet in the bar at 6.30pm and meet like-minded individuals and get connected.

Lunchtime Bites / Thursday, 7 February meet at 12.15pm in the Dunedin Public Library, ground floor. Te Kohe Tuhaka will perform an excerpt from Michael James Manaia with an opportunity to win tickets. Reading will commence at 12.30pm followed by afternoon tea. This is a FREE event.

Audio Described Performance / Sunday, 10 February an audio described performance offered in collaboration with Experience Access for visually impaired patrons and friends. Audio Described Touch Tour at 2.30pm before 4pm matinee. Bookings essential. 


CAST:  Te Kohe Tuhaka

Set & Costume Design:  Dan Williams
Lighting Design:  Lisa Maule
Sound Design:  Maaka McGregor
Production Manager:  Nathan McKendry / Helena Coulton (Dunedin)
Stage Manager:  Amber Maxwell / Jennifer Aitken (Dunedin)