23 May 2019

Māui: dance theatre piece adds hip-hop flavour to Māori legend

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:38 pm on 23 May 2019

Māui will be performed at the fourth annual Pacific Dance Festival next month – after a sold-out run at this year's Auckland Fringe Festival. 

Hadleigh Pouesi

Photo: Supplied

Māui – presented by Auckland's Freshmans Dance Crew – is part of the revitalisation of Māori and Pacifika stories kicked off by the film Moana, says Freshmans director and dancer Hadleigh Pouesi.

Hadleigh Pouesi

Hadleigh Pouesi Photo: Elephant Publicity

"At such a young age we let go of the mythology, the Māori stories, the Pacific stories… Māui is about revisiting the Pacific tales that we've told in primary school and kindergarten… [and retelling them through a] more contemporary lens."

Māui – which will be performed at Mangere Arts Centre – features live music, special effects and a fusion of hip-hop, Pacific, Māori and contemporary dance.

"We take the best of the best and merge it together to create a unique flavour."

Aotearoa is now home to some of the best hip-hop dancers in the world, Pouesi says.

"New Zealand has its own flavour in the hip-hop sphere. You can watch a dancer and without talking to them know if they're from New Zealand 'cause they carry that Pasifika flavour."

You can buy tickets to see Māui on 15 June 2019 at Auckland's Mangere Arts Centre - Nga Tohu o Uenuku here.

Hadleigh Pouesi talks about the show Māui:

Freshmans Dance Crew perform at the 2017 Hip-hop International NZ Championships:


  • Māui looks to tell traditional Pacific stories through contemporary lens
  • Bringing Pasifika dance in Utah
  • Pacific Dance Festival boasts traditional and contemporary works