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Hone Kouka


Hone Kouka Image Credit P Merry

Hone Kouka MNZM’s Biography

Last Updated:
1/09/2023, 12:17 pm
Theatre / Film
Arts Foundation Laureate 2022
Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata raua ko Ngāi Tahu
Hone Kouka MNZM is a father, an acclaimed Māori director, producer and writer for theatre and film. He is the co-founder of theatre company Tawata Productions, and the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Kia Mau Festival; a Māori, Pasifika and global Indigenous contemporary performance platform based in Te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui. Widely regarded for his leadership, his commitment to supporting and upskilling emerging artists, and his own fearless and inventive creative approach – Hone is a legend in New Zealand theatre.

2022 Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate receiving the Sir Roger Hall Theatre Practitioner Award

At 19, Hone became the youngest winner of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award. Since then, he has had plays produced in South Africa, Britain, Hawaii, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Caledonia, as well as throughout New Zealand, with three plays being translated into French, Japanese and Russian.

In 2004, Hone, along with Mīria George, founded theatre and film production house Tawata Productions, producing the works of tangata whenua and tangata moana artists. He became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his Services to Contemporary Māori Theatre in June 2009 and was awarded the New Zealand Writers Guild Mentors Award in 2013. In 2015, he became the founder and Artistic Director of Kia Mau Festival – a tangata whenua, tangata moana and international Indigenous multi arts platform based in Wellington. It is now seen as one of the most influential Indigenous arts festivals globally.

He had two films screened at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival - Born to Dance (Screenwriter) and Mahana (Executive Producer) and in 2017 he was awarded the Arts Category for Wellingtonian of the Year. Hone is the producer of numerous multi-award winning short films nationally and internationally, most recently fire in the water, fire in the sky by Mīria George in 2021. In 2022, he was awarded Te Tohu Tiketike from Taki Rua Productions in relation to the life of Taki Rua and the wider Māori Theatre Industry.

"Kia ora Koutou katoa. To be in the presence of such outstanding artists and be considered one of them is an honour. To win an award such as this as a theatre maker acknowledges all who have brought the work to life. Theatre is a collective artform and as a writer, director, producer, I am but one small part of that larger beautiful being."