The Whale Rider

Puppets feature in Tim Bray Productions’ season of Witi Ihimaera’s classic New Zealand story The Whale Rider on stage in Auckland in June and July.

Auckland’s leading children’s theatre company, Tim Bray Productions presents The Whale Rider at the PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna from 23 June to 19 July.

Made famous by Niki Caro’s award-winning 2002 film for which star Keisha Castle-Hughes was nominated for an Academy Award, The Whale Rider tells the story of Kahu – a young Maori girl destined to become the leader of her tribe.

Based on the children’s picture book and adapted for the stage by Tim Bray, this production of The Whale Rider uses puppets to tell Kahu’s story. Kahu is destined to become the leader of her tribe, but no matter how hard she tries to show her worth, her grandfather won’t accept that a girl can take over his role as chief. However things change when Kahu rescues the ancient whale beached in the Whangara Harbour.

The play features Noa Campbell as Nani Flowers with Pippiajna Tui Jane as Kahu and Adam Burrell as Koro. The actors work with the puppets created by Auckland puppet-maker Ben Anderson.

Author Witi Ihimaera is delighted with this production of his acclaimed work.

“Tim’s proposal is ingenious and accessible to children,” he said. “I am confident that the outcome will be a production that will captivate its young audiences and, especially, inspire them to always keep looking forward with optimism to their own futures as adults in a challenging world.”

The Whale Rider is the second show presented as part of Tim Bray Productions’ 2014 children’s theatre programme.

37668 The Whale Rider

The Whale Rider is at The PumpHouse, Takapuna, Auckland from Monday 23 June to Saturday 19 July with a special Gala Opening Performance on Saturday 5 July at 5pm. Performance times: 23 June to 4 July, 10.30am and 1pm; 5-19 July, 10.30am and 2pm. No shows on Sundays. Children are encouraged to dress up.

To book, phone (09) 489-8360 or

View the trailer

Photos: David Rowland /

See the show and participate in the workshop:

Theatre Workshops with full-day and half-day options available on Tues 8, Wed 9, Tues 15, Wed 16 July. Children see The Whale Rider and enjoy drama, art and craft activities, a backstage tour, a lesson in how theatre lighting works and a Q & A session with the cast. Full-day Theatre Workshops are $75 and the Half-day option is $55. Bookings phone 09-486-2261 or