Renowned hip hop artist Scribe, alongside his father John and brother Matthias, is taking to the Napier Municipal Theatre stage tonight with his powerful true story of immigrant life in New Zealand.

Part of the 2016 Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, The White Guitar was co-written by the three men and is a hard-hitting exploration of the trials Pacific Island immigrants face trying to make a better life for their family in New Zealand, seen through the eyes of the Luafutu family.

Produced by The Conch, and directed by Nina Nawalowalo and Jim Moriarty, this show has earned standing ovations and sell-out seasons in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, and is currently touring New Zealand through Tour-Makers.

The story follows a grandmother's dream of a better life in New Zealand, which collides with the reality of hardship and loss - a man's journey from boyhood innocence into the heart of darkness through violence, drug addiction, prison and gangs - then to the possibility of hope, healing and inspiration.

Advertisement

With the intensity of a live gig, the soundtrack echoes the narrative - ranging from a grandmother singing along with her white guitar, to the power of rock and roll, hip-hop beats and church hymns.

The Conch artistic director Nina Nawalowalo said while it's emotional and raw, The White Guitar was not about sentimentality.

"Ultimately it's a redemption story. The guys are committed to telling their story to show that hope is real, that there is the potential for change."

The cast and crew arrived in Hawke's Bay on Thursday, following two full-house performances at The Gisborne War Memorial Theatre.

Ms Nawalowalo said one of the exciting things about Gisborne was seeing people come to the show who had never previously been to the theatre.

"They've never seen themselves represented on stage before."

One example was a young man who was released from prison the day before and used his "steps to freedom" money, given to him upon release, to buy a ticket to the show.

After walking for an hour, he waited three hours outside the theatre to deliver a rap to Scribe that he had written in prison.

"It's a testament to how much Scribe means to young Maori and Pacific youth in this country," she said.

Scribe (real name Malo Luafutu) is one of New Zealand's best known hip hop artists with a platinum-selling album and APRA Silver Scroll Award to his name.

The White Guitar plays for one night only at the Napier Municipal Theatre tonight, starting at 8pm. For more information or tickets, go to www.hbaf.co.nz or the Napier Municipal Theatre box office. Door sales available.