From the makers of The White Guitar
comes a new play revealing the stories of NZ's
lost generation and the system that was supposed to protect
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat
In 2015, Fa'amoana and his sons bared their souls to audiences
all around Aotearoa with the award winning The White
Guitar. In 2018, drawing from his experiences and
relationships formed through childhood, Fa'amoana reveals the story
of A Boy Called Piano.
PRAISE FOR THE WHITE GUITAR
"The White Guitar is not just the story of Malo Luafutu aka
Scribe's rags to semi-riches experience but a brutal and honest
catalogue of the effects of immigration, violence, drugs, family,
religion, decline and redemption for generations of a family
struggling to survive and more importantly, to find a
voice despite the curveballs that life throws them.
What could have been a formulaic, well-worn story is so much
more realistic and gut wrenching because of the rawness and real
treatment that The White Guitar delivers in spades. In fact we'd go
so far as to say that it is one of the most soul-bearing
pieces of theatre we've seen in a long long time.
The White Guitar's story is truly a theatrical
masterpiece that will haunt me for a long time to come,
accentuated by its intensity and authenticity."
- Theatre Scenes Auckland -review
At a time when the human rights commission petitioned the
government for an enquiry into the terrible abuse of children in
state care, resulting in a Royal Commission of inquiry, Fa'amoana
has chosen to speak out through a historic new play. Building on
The Conch's kaupapa of harnessing the power of theatre as a
force for social change, this work takes us directly into
the experience of thousands of Maori and Pacific children placed in
state care in the 1960s.
Judge Carolyn Henwood, who heads the Confidential Listening and
Assistance Service, which listens to ex State wards stories of
historic abuse, said she was "shocked, stunned and staggered" by
the high level of sexual abuse - particularly against boys.
Māori Party's Te Ururoa Flavell says the country's lost
generations were more serious than what most people thought: "We're
potentially talking about thousands of children being taken
from their families simply for having a disability, being
Māori or minor transgressions like skipping school, only to be
abused physically, sexually and emotionally by the strangers and
institutions that the State placed them with."
This important project recognises that this story is not one of
private and isolated suffering, but one which impacts on us all;
that the many thousands who suffered have profoundly
affected the course of New Zealand history. That many like
Fa'amoana, who have been demonised in the mainstream, began life as
innocent children who were brutalised within a system that was
supposed to be protecting and 'correcting' them.
This project also acknowledges that these stories do not live in
the past, but continue to impact our nation today.
"Despite our clean cut image, Aotearoa New Zealand has unacceptably
high levels of child abuse. Abuse against children is a serious and
extremely damaging social problem. " - Unicef
The play will follow three performers embodying the roles of
young boys in state care in the 60s, suffering the hardships that
Fa'amoana and others like himself have endured. We're very proud to
announce one of these performers will be previous Conch
collaborator Matthias Luafutu, son to Fa'amoana and one of the
central performers in The White Guitar.
This project has been generously supported by Creative New Zealand
in the scripting stage, giving Fa'amoana the time to research and
draw from a deeply personal period in his life in order to bring
these characters to life.
Now, as we arrive at the development process, we require
$5,000 to put this work on its feet. Your support ensures
we can get the full performance and creative team together in
Wellington, and then pack us into the Herald Theatre in Auckland.
This development season is proudly supported by Auckland Live who
will be providing the theatre and its equipment at minimal
Your generous donations will ensure that we have the capability
to share this story with the world - something
that is vitally needed and sorely wanted, as can be evidenced by
the enormous success of The White Guitar.
The Luafutu Family
Of the Sa Tuatagaloa can, Fa'amoana John Luafutu came to New
Zealand as a young boy from the villages of Satalo and Poutasi,
Falelili, Samoa. A self-taught musician and writer, John is known
for his book, A Boy Called Broke - My story: so far. His
involvement in The White Guitar has been another step in telling
his story which he hopes will help young Pacific people in their
own journeys. After the White Guitar, John worked with his son
Matthias on the film Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett
Matthias has been building a career in acting since work with Jim
Moriarty's theatre group, Te Rakau. He has enjoyed roles in
television and in films for the past 4 years, including the
television series Harry, working alongside Oscar Kightley and Sam
Neill, and multiple award winning New Zealand film, Shopping. Most
recently he was cast in the film Ghost in the Shell, starring
Scarlett Johanson, filmed in Wellington. The White Guitar and A Boy
Called Piano is Matthias's return back to his first love,
CO-FOUNDER OF THE CONCH
In a career spanning more than 30 years, internationally-acclaimed
theatre director Nina Nawalowalo has created a platform for the
telling of Pacific stories across the globe. Artistic Director and
Co-founder of Wellington-based theatre company The Conch, she is a
performer, mentor and teacher who has presented at over 40
international festivals, including the London International Mime
Festival, British Festival of Visual Theatre, and the Moscow Arts
From her ground breaking 'Vula' which toured for 7 years
including a 3 week season at The Sydney Opera House, and a sold out
season at London's Barbican Centre, to Masi, Marama and her
unforgettable direction of the work of others such as Hone Kouka's
The Prophet, and Edinburgh festival award-winning Duck death and
the Tulip, Nina is renowned for her powerful visual and magical
work exploring Pacific themes.
CO-FOUNDER OF THE CONCH
Tom read Drama at Bristol University, receiving a BA with first
class honours before going on to train for two years under
internationally-renown Master teacher Jacques Lecoq at L'Ecole
Internationale De Theatre Jacques Lecoq, Paris, France. Before
moving to New Zealand his work was included in many national and
international festivals, including 'Diskurs Festival' Geissen
Germany, British Festival of Visual theatre, Edinburgh festival and
National review of Live Art.
Alongside Nina Nawalowalo he is co-founder of The Conch, and has
played an active and vital role in all Conch productions, including
his significant involvement in the script development of The Conch
production The White Guitar.
Sasha joined the Conch at the end of 2015, after 6 years as
General Manager/Side-kick to Jim Moriarty, Artistic Director of Te
Råkau Theatre. Of Samoan and English descent, Sasha was born and
raised in Porirua alongside her 8 siblings. With a hunger for
performance and debating, Sasha's passion for theatre and its
ability to provoke and challenge its audiences has been a long
standing passion. Sasha's drive has taken her into working with
youth-at-risk in a number of residential care and lock-up
facilities, and with homelessness managing the Wellington City
Mission's Drop-in centre.
Since beginning with The Conch, Sasha has produced Marama, which
premiered for the Auckland Arts Festival, the 9 city National Tour
of The White Guitar, and many Conch Youth, Advocacy and Corporate
events. Sasha is the Producer for the Conch's latest work The Naked
Samoans Do Magic, and looks forward to working on A Boy Called
Piano as it links so closely to her work within the community.
WHERE TO FROM HERE
We're excited to share this work. The development
process is scheduled for June at The Herald Theatre in
Be part of the development process by following The Conch on
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. All links can be found below.
A Boy Called Piano Trailer
13 MONTHS AGO
"Working with Nina I was able to relate all that pain and feel comfortable in it. It was like working with a family."
Our latest work is The Boy Called Piano and we're looking for your support for our first initial showing.
By the creators of The White Guitar.