Meri Te Tai Mangakahia is a NZ'er to be proud of- she ranks
right up there with Kiri Te Kanawa and Jean Batten. But few know of
You may wonder why I, a manuhiri pākeha kuia with a Canadian
accent, am asking for your generosity to help make Meri's story
better known. It's because our younger wahine deserve to know that
there was a passionate, committed Māori suffragist who took action
to help get that all-important right and freedom. Knowing about
Meri, hearing her actual words, will give young wahine a sense of
ownership of the vote, and pride in what Meri and others did to get
Helping us fund the Mercury Theatre
This is a crucial first step to telling Meri's story. This
Boosted campaign is specifically to raise the deposit to secure
Auckland's lovely, classic Mercury Theatre for the play's first
season. The Mercury has recently opened its doors to performances
again, after a near-twenty year closure. A successful Boosted
campaign will secure it for our first season.
So! Please donate to our Boosted campaign - even $5 will
help. And you will be part of making this remarkable Māori
suffragist more widely known in her own country.
Getting the Idea
I came to Aotearoa in January,1974, becoming part of the growing
feminist movement. In 2017, when I realised that 2018 was the 125th
anniversary of NZ's women achieving a world-first in getting the
vote, I wondered: "What can I do to celebrate that?"
Thinking of Kate Sheppard, I wondered who were the Māori wahine
working for the vote. Researching that, I found Meri Te Tai
Mangakahia. When I read Meri's speech, I realised that here was a
woman who was as passionate about the vote as Kate Sheppard, yet
almost unknown in her own country. I immediately wanted to change
Being a writer, it was natural for me to write something. I
decided on a stage play with songs, as I particularly wanted
younger women and girls to know of her.
Forming the Charity
After contacting Meri's whanau, I worked with them on the stage
play I'd conceived, titled When Piwakawaka Fly. I chose that name
because of the association of the piwakawaka (fantail) with being a
message-bringer. Her whanau have helped me create a musical play
which tells Meri's story in words and songs.
At the same time, I decided that this project should be held in
a Charitable Trust. The When Piwakawaka Fly Trust was created in
March, 2018. It has five sitting Trustees, with at-large whanau
receiving all the minutes of the Trust and empowered to be part of
the decision-making processes.
The Bigger Picture
Initially, the goals were to ask secondary girls' schools
to use the play in their drama selections, and then to take the
play overseas, especially around the indigenous theatre circuit.
However, before a play can be offered to schools, it first must
have one successful season in a theatre. Which brings us to this
Donors who are New Zealand income earners qualify for a
33% tax credit on their donations. Boosted will email a receipt
after the campaign closes.
What amazingly generous donations!
5 MONTHS AGO
This is Sandi Hall, wanting each of you who donated to our When Piwakawaka Fly project to know how very much I appreciate your support -- and how elated our Charitable Trust is to have our goal reached well ahead of the cut-off point! Thanks very very much from me and the others on our Charitable Trust: Emma, Jill, Richard, Jen, Carina, Alex.
We also want you to know that we will be spending some of the money on dramaturgy and workshopping the play. If any of you do not wish your donation to be used for these purposes, do let us know and we shall use your donation only for the hireage of the Mercury.
Also, it's fair to say now that we shall do another Boosted campaign later in 2019, to raise funds for costuming, choreography, and publicity. It would be wonderful to have your support again, if possible, as we work hard to achieve this goal.
Thank you, too, for giving me peace of mind as we approach the holiday season -- the best "gift" ever! Mauri ora, Sandi