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About Taniwha, Taniwha!


This production is suitable for junior/middle school upwards. Please note, music rights for public performance are not included. Schools should hold the standard One Music Schools Licence.


It’s the first night of school camp in Taniwha Valley, but no one can sleep. It’s time for a scary bedtime story! But what happens when that story starts getting a little too real…?



Tahi, Rua Toru, Whā (Anika Moa)

Row, Kiwi, Row Your Boat (Pio Terei)

Taniwha, Taniwha! (Anika Moa)

I’m a Taniwha (JGeeks)

Anei Ngā Taniwha (JGeeks)

Taniwha in the Sun (Duan & Only)



Taniwha (from Make It!)

Pyjamas for main character students

Taniwha masks (from Make It!) for dance groups

Plain black clothes for tamariki moving the taniwha and the river

Sheep masks for all Hipi (from Make It!)

Hipi 1-10 should be numbered



River (e.g. a long piece of shiny blue fabric. This can be held by tamariki at both ends and shaken so that it seems to move.)

A storybook

A midnight snack


Sound effects:

A soft whistling, like the wind

A spooky kōauau (flute) or similar

A rattle

A fast drumbeat



Beware the dreaded taniwha a-lurking in his lair,

The monster teeth! The monster jaws!

The monster tail! The monster claws!

Do not go near! Or: snicker-snack!

You’re never, ever coming back.


Taniwha Valley is spooky – no wonder no one can sleep on school camp! While Jamie just wants to open his midnight snacks, the tamariki count sheep (in Māori.) It doesn’t work. They count them backwards (in Māori.) It still doesn’t work. When the teachers tell them a scary bedtime story about the history of Taniwha Valley, it only makes their insomnia worse. Is the taniwha real? They decide to go exploring in the dark to find out.


While the entire cast is kept busy chanting repeated rhymes with accompanying actions, the tamariki meet a koroua (old man), then a kuia (old lady) who each remember their own encounters with the taniwha. Convinced that the monster is real, the tamariki decide to run away – but it’s too late! The taniwha is here! It snakes through the audience and on to the stage as the tamariki desperately try to escape.


We learn some useful Māori directions and gentle audience participation is encouraged. The tamariki try to fight the taniwha – it doesn’t work. Just when it looks like they’ll be eaten alive, Jamie remembers his midnight snacks. The taniwha is pacified and departs.


How could anyone ever get to sleep after all this excitement? By counting sheep, that’s how! The audience is invited to join in the last simple dance, and, finally, the tamariki fall fast asleep...  


Some Demo Taniwha, Taniwha! Dances

Costume Ideas


step-by-step video - HOW TO MAKE A Taniwha


step-by-step video - HOW TO MAKE A sheep mask

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Taniwha Headband Template

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Bonus Material

Bonus Material

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