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About This School Production 

Purchasing a school production gives you access to fully choreographed dance videos tailored to your show, a pdf copy of the script and instructions and/or videos for simple costume ideas.​ 

We didn’t know if it was possible – but we’ve done it! The entire history of Aotearoa New Zealand from Gondwana to the present in a school production so achievable, even your youngest tamariki can take part. Interactive StoryDances bring New Zealand’s history and its personalities to life, while our choreographed dances add all-Kiwi musical flair. This production is designed to be flexible, with options for your own Kapa Haka item and/or some singing, as well as easier options for very young tamariki. An energetic and thought-provoking show perfect for sparking meaningful discussions in senior primary and intermediate schools.

The kids are in disbelief – their school production has been interrupted by Martians intent on taking over New Zealand! The Martians claim that Aotearoa has no history worth talking about … just watch the kids prove them wrong! 


Kererū (Aro);

Riroriro (Aro) or your own Kapa Haka item or Row, Kiwi, Row Your Boat (Pio Terei);

Pūkeko (Aro);

Anei Ngā Taniwha (JGeeks & the Geeks);

Peke (Te Nūtube: Atareta Milne & Te Haakura Ihimaera-Manley) or source & sing E Oma Rāpeti;

The Wreck of the Diddley (Fatcat & Fishface);

Tahi, Rua, Toru, Whā (Anika Moa);

Korimako (Aro) or source & sing a suitable song of your choice, e.g. Pepeha by SIX60.  


StoryDances (tamariki move freely to audio, as guided by the story):

‘Gondwana & the Land of the Birds’;

‘Arrival of the Māori’;

‘Europeans, Musket Wars and Te Tiriti’;

‘The NZ Wars’, parts 1&2;

‘The Making of a Pākehā Colony’;

‘From War Time to Boom Time’;

‘From the 60s Into the Future’   



Dance Groups:

Manu/Birds (includes Kererū)

Kapa Haka (includes Kaihautū/Steerer, Kupe, Kupe’s wife, Māori settler, Moa)

Moana/Waves (includes Samuel Marsden, Traders 1&2, Fashionistas 1&2, Hongi Hika, Te Rauparaha, Tāmati Wāka Nene, James Busby, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, William Hobson, Henry Williams, Rangatira 1&2, Crowd Members 1,2,3,4,5)

Muramura/Flames (best for oldest tamariki; includes Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke, Governor George Grey, Duncan Cameron, Rewi Maniapoto, Te Whiti o Rongomai)

Rāpeti/Rabbits (best for youngest tamariki; includes Farmer(s))

Castaways (includes Sarah Courage, Colonist Reporter, Canterbury Times Reporter, Kate Sheppard, Henry Wright)

Hipi/Sheep (includes Richard Pearse, Ernest Rutherford, Jack Lovelock, Elizabeth McCombs, Jean Batten, George Sellars the Parachuting Santa, Michael Joseph Savage, Oswald Mazengarb) 

Flower Power (includes Peter Snell, John Walker, Whina Cooper, Nana, Kid)

Other Characters:

MCs: 1&2

Martians: 1&2

Shrek the Sheep



Security Guards

Teacher (a real member of staff! Sits briefly in front row, then exits)

European Explorers: Abel Tasman, Jean de Surville, Marion du Fresne, James Cook, Jules Dumont d’Urville 



Choose from super-simple or spectacular!


The Martians have landed! A faulty map has led their spaceship not to parliament, but to a school production: the Great Aotearoa History Show. Undeterred, they announce their intention to take over New Zealand, which they claim is a tiny country at the end of the world, with no history worth talking about. The kids resolve to prove them wrong, inviting the Martians to stay and watch their show. 

First up is a StoryDance (tamariki move freely to the audio): ‘Gondwana and the Land of the Birds.’ The kids twist, turn, shake, flap, hop and more! It is followed by a choreo dance centred on a greedy kererū. Shrek the Sheep makes a badly timed appearance, terrifying the Martians. The Kapa Haka Dance Group peforms a StoryDance re-enacting the early Māori’s sea voyages to Aotearoa and some of their pūrākau/legends (the kids paddle, pull, push and more!) An extinct moa is removed by security guards. Tamariki perform a choreo dance or their own Kapa Haka item.

New Zealand’s European explorers introduce themselves, along with the all-important Potato. The Moana Dance Group, dressed as waves, re-enact the waves of European migration, and lead us through the musket wars and the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We are introduced to characters such as Hongi Hika, James Busby, Edward Gibbon Wakefield, William Hobson, Henry Williams and others. The controversy surrounding the treaty is explained using the metaphor of waves in a storm at sea. 

After another choreo dance and a comically rushing ‘goldrusher,’ the Muramura Dance Group, dressed as flames, lead us through the fiery New Zealand Wars in two parts, with a choreo dance inbetween. The interactive audio covers the main battles and personalities of the wars sensitively, but without glossing over difficult truths. This section ends on a note of hope, with the children of Parihaka skipping off stage. The Rāpeti Dance Group performs a fun dance with a serious message, highlighting the rabbit plague. 

Interspersed with short conversations between the kids and Martians, there are more StoryDances followed by fun choreo dances. In ‘The Making of a Pākehā Colony’, we learn about everything from travel by coach, the first telegraphs and trains on the main trunk line, to rugby, refrigerated meat exports, deforestation and the suffrage movement. The Castaways Dance Group draws attention to NZ’s many shipwrecks. ‘From War Time to Boom Time’ covers historical figures such as Richard Pearse, Ernest Rutherford, Jean Batten and Edmund Hilary, as well as the two world wars and racial segregation within New Zealand. The Hipi Dance Group, dressed as sheep, lighten the mood with dance. The Flower Power Dance Group presents the final StoryDance: ‘From the 60s into the Future’, touching on everything from the Moon landing and the Māori language petition to the Dawn Raids, Whina Cooper’s hīkoi, the Springbok Tour, and into the present. We realise that the future will belong not to us, but to the children. A Māori whakataukī/proverb is recited. The kids persuade the Martians to rethink their plans to take over, and instead to come and stay for a while: “I feel like we could be friends.”

The play ends on a note of reconciliation and respect. A challenge to learn from our past is set down, and a final dance (or optional song) expresses hope for the future.   

Demo StoryDance:

Some Demo 'Ka mua, ka muri - The Great Aotearoa History Show' Dances

Some Costume Ideas:

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Hī Hā School Productions

Looking for an all-Kiwi production for your NZ primary or intermediate school?


Hī Hā’s unique dance teacher/children’s author collaboration offers movement-based school productions embracing easy Māori language, culture and history. 

*NZ curriculum-friendly *achievable *affordable *fun!


All shows include script, choreo dance videos and costume ideas. Some include innovative StoryDances (just push play, kids move freely to pre-recorded audio – super-easy to rehearse!)

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