Theatre: The Ragged and Dog & Bone

See pivotal moments of Wellington’s early history in a new light in these powerful plays – parts 1 and 2 of Te Rākau Theatre’s ‘The Undertow’ series.

  • When Wed 25 Jan 2017, 6:30–10:30pm
  • Where
    Soundings Theatre, Level 2
  • Cost For both plays: adult $50, concession $35, student $30, child iwi $25
Book now

Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua.
Man disappears but the land remains.

The Ragged

The Ragged is a tale of settlers, Māori, and the New Zealand Company that brings 1840s Wellington to life. The chief of a Māori village in Owhiro Bay welcomes settler Samuel Kenning, who has rejected the hierarchy of the new Wellington settlement. But tensions build as other recent arrivals begin to carve up the land. 

Dog and Bone

Dog & Bone paints a vivid picture of the capital in 1869 – a time when ‘savage’ lives were cheap and colonial greed ruled. Brothers Tāiki and Kurītea Kenning both want to protect their family land – prime real estate on Wellington’s south coast. But while Tāiki tries to convince his people to lay down their weapons, Kurītea joins Ngāti Ruanui in Taranaki to fight the ‘landeaters’.

To have read or heard about our local history is one thing, but to see it portrayed in the way Te Rākau Theatre does is special and unique and not to be missed.

The Dominion Post

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, presents this season of Te Rākau Theatre’s ‘The Undertow’ with support from Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangātira, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and Te Puni Kōkiri.



The Undertow, 2016. Photograph by Aneta Pond, courtesy of Te Rākau Theatre

The Undertow

‘The Undertow’ is a quartet of bold, ambitious plays from Te Rākau Theatre, performed together for the first time. Immerse yourself in stories with a kaupapa Māori perspective that span the first settler ships and modern urban life. 

Creative team

Director Jim Moriarty (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Kōata, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Scots, Norwegian) is co-founder of Wellington-based Te Rākau Theatre, which has worked with schools, prisons, marae, rural communities, and youth justice residencies since 1989.

Te Rākau Theatre playwright Helen Pearse-Otene (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Kahungunu-Rongomaiwahine) is author of all four ‘The Undertow’ plays.


Tue 17 Jan 2017, 6.30pm–10.30pm (includes 45-minute intermission)

Thu 19 Jan 2017, 6.30pm–10.30pm (includes 45-minute intermission)

Wed 25 Jan 2017, 6.30pm–10.30pm (includes 45-minute intermission)

Fri 27 Jan 2017, 6.30pm–10.30pm (includes 45-minute intermission)