By Te Aorewa Rolleston for RNZ
Matariki, huarahi ki te oranga tangata - Matariki, pathway to the wellbeing of humanity
A new audio play seeks to give Aotearoa an engaging insight into Matariki accompanied by the voices of some of the nation's most well-known actors and performers.
Mauri Tau has been written and directed by artist Scotty Cotter (Tainui) and involves an immersive sound and storytelling experience where listeners are encouraged to participate and even venture outdoors to witness Matariki as they listen.
The play features an ensemble cast who have taken on the roles of the nine stars which make up the Matariki constellation.
Fran Kora voices Waitā, Rachel House does Pōhutukawa, Lana Garland as Tupuānuku, Matariki Whatarau as Tupuārangi and Nicola Kāwana as Waipunarangi, Tanea Heke as Matariki, Te Kohe Tuhaka as Ururangi, Akinehi Munroe as Waitī, and Cotter as Hiwaiterangi.
Cotter said the idea for the Mauri Tau audio tour came through lockdown when he was trying find ways to help preserve theatre and arts for the public while in isolation.
Sourcing the ensemble who voiced the stars was not hard as they were all friends who he had collaborated with over the years, he said.
"I've made a lot of solid friendships with other Māori performing artists ... so I just asked them really kindly and a little bit toughly to be a part of this.
"I'm trying to get people first outside in nature and also to look up ... I'm trying to just get people connected."
Mauri Tau has been pieced together with an original sound design and composition by Fran Kora and Matt Eller.
The audio was designed to encourage reconnection to our taiao (natural world) and environmental surroundings as well as bringing a holistic spiritual, cultural and physical experience for listeners.
Kora explored solfeggio frequencies which he assigned to each star.
Solfeggio frequencies have been described as having healing properties.
Their specific audio tones are said to possess physical and spiritual healing abilities, which were used in ancient global cultures and re-entered contemporary audio culture in the 1970s.
Kora said during the sound design for the audio play they aimed to use music with healing properties.
He hoped when people listen that they had a lot of fun.
"With Scotty's work, it's really light and fun and I hope that people when they listen to it they can walk away and feel really good about what they've heard," he said.
"Maybe even go and do some research if they want to know more about Matariki."
Listeners are invited to experience the guided hīkoi within their own backyard, neighbourhood streets and parks, maunga, forest and beaches.
• Mauri Tau will be streamed via silotheatre.co.nz. Audiences across Aotearoa and the world can listen to Mauri Tau with audio sessions daily at dawn and dusk from today until July 18.