26 May 2024

The hands behind iconic Crown Lynn hit the stage

From Culture 101, 12:45 pm on 26 May 2024


The Handlers

The Handlers Photo: Andi Crown Photography

Poata Alvie McKree

Poata Alvie McKree Photo: Supplied

Te Pou Theatre’s latest offering puts a spotlight on the wāhine factory workers behind the iconic Crown Lynn crockery. 

The Handlers is set in 1976 in West Auckland while the factory is producing record amounts of ceramics, predominantly by Māori and Pacific people. But when a whānau of Maori women take time off to attend a tangihanga, the production line grinds to a halt - exposing the inequalities, inequities and realities of the workplace in the ‘70s. 

Writer Poata Alvie McKree captures the experiences of the Māori and Pacific women in both a comedic and moving way, while the show is driven along by a legendary Motown soundtrack.

The women keep things going both on the home and the work front, and the show takes place against the backdrop of the Dawn Raids and mana Māori motuhake - the resistance to colonisation and a search for independence and sovereignty. 

McKree spoke to Culture 101’s Perlina Lau.