What happens when a vibrant Māori dance teacher and an
award-winning children’s author join creative forces?
Hī Hā is what happens!
Kia ora! We’re Lleuarne Panoho and Sally Sutton, and we make school productions that move tamariki!
Lleuarne has taught her popular, Māori-inspired dance fitness classes in Auckland primary schools for many years. Sally’s best-selling children’s books have set thousands of kids world-wide on the path to literacy. Together, we combine the joy of movement with the power of story in all-Kiwi school productions embracing easy Māori language and the culture and history of Aotearoa.
We’ve each seen how our work empowers and connects tamariki. We’ve seen how they grow in self-confidence, mana, empathy and understanding. We’re passionate about helping them create fitter bodies, stronger minds and more powerful imaginations. What better way than through the magic energy of theatre? Of course, we can’t do it without you, our teachers. Please join us! We are so excited to share Hī Hā with you!
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini.
My strength is not that of a single warrior, but that of many.
Lleuarne Panoho - Kaikanikani
Dancer / choreographer
Can you picture 120 tamariki in a room, chanting a song in Te Reo Māori, laughing, moving, singing? Now picture that single Māori student in that sea of tamariki, and imagine how empowering that is for them. I have seen this happen. This is what motivates me to do what I do.
Hī Hā school production kanikani are choreographed especially for tamariki. Many use subtle Māori movements and simple Te Reo Māori to help them learn about New Zealand culture while having fun and getting fit. Our dance videos are designed to make it easy for teachers too: no experience, rhythm or coordination is required – just bring a smile, I’ll make it easy!
Tamariki are natural movers with amazing energy, and they’re not yet self-conscious like adults. Dancing is a great way to help them celebrate what it means to be Kiwi, to learn, to connect, to move, to shine… and especially to have fun! I can’t wait to dance with you!
Sally Sutton -
When I was eight or nine, my mum took me to ‘Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ at Auckland’s Mercury Theatre. She almost didn’t. She was worried I would find it too blood-thirsty, and suffer from nightmares. I didn’t. I was hooked! And I have loved theatre ever since.
Hī Hā school productions are all about movement: the dances and the stories. There’s everything from spaceships powered by bouncing, to action-based rhymes, to StoryDances where kids move freely to a pre-recorded audio. This is great for engaging even the youngest tamariki, as it cuts down on rehearsal time and conveys information with a minimum of line-learning, all while encouraging fitness and creativity – and the kids love it!
Writing plays for children is a special sort of challenge. Every word needs to count. Every line needs to flow. Our aim: all-Kiwi stories that are simple yet exciting, and easy to stage. It’s a true joy collaborating with Lleuarne to move our tamariki through story and dance. Let’s hit the stage!