Rutherford Junior High is buzzing with activity as everyone prepares for the upcoming production of Tutaeporoporo.

The tale of the giant taniwha of the Whanganui has all the elements of a great adventure and a fine romance.

Brave warrior Aokehu (played by Kevin Rennie) loves the beautiful Hine-au-moana (played by Hinerangi Ratana) but there are barriers in his way.

"There is a love interest there," said Hinerangi.


To win his sweetheart, Aokehu must slay Tutaeporoporo who lurks in the awa and caves at Putiki, Waipuna and Wairere.

Everyone in the school is playing their part, creating props, set pieces and costumes including the great head of tutaeporoporo.

Some of the cast have been stopping off around town during the past week, treating workers to a sneak preview of songs from the production.

"They are all really engaged with it," said teacher Lia Tuffield. "Having the whole school involved means that everyone feels part of it."

The Rutherford art room is ablaze with colour as the river takes shape on a length of silk, pillars are painted with poutiriao (guardians) and some of the girls have been sewing taupaki (aprons) with dyed flax and feathers attached.

There will be a matinee performance of Tutaeporoporo at 1pm on Tuesday, July 5 and a main performance at 5pm on July 6 in the Rutherford Junior High auditorium in Toi St.

Mrs Tuffield said members of the public were welcome to attend the performances and a koha at the door would be appreciated.