Awhi Tapu

Cast 1f 3m (with doubling)
ISBN 1 877319 05 8
ISBN 978 1877319 05 1
Teachers' discount $17
RRP $22.50

Awhi Tapu
Albert Belz

At the foot of the Urewera ranges lies Awhi Tapu - a desolate forestry village. With the forestry industry closed down, most have left - Wendyl, Sonny, Casper and Girl Girl have only each other and their fertile imaginations to rely on.

Awhi Tapu is a story of loss, belonging, but most of all, friendship; it heralds a new wave of writing around Maori issues and characters; direct, unsentimental and challenging.

His second work for the stage, Awhi Tapu brought Belz to national attention in 2003, and a subsequent North Island tour with Taki Rua Productions sold out with audiences and reviewers praising the play's power, vitality and emotional punch.

Awhi Tapu also received an award from The Human Rights Commission for its "positive contribution towards harmonious race relations - a marvellous story, presented with humour, passion, pathos and hope."


"The play is about young people now - where do we stand as young people in the community? Who do we follow now all the old people have left?" Nancy Brunning

"Belz weaves the different elements of the play with great assurance, and it builds impressively in emotional power. Considerable humour is generated by (their) atempts to package their story as a Hollywood screenplay starring Denzel Washington ..." New Zealand Herald

" The play weaves past and present, fantasy and reality, comedy and tragedy to compelling effect ... he uses insightful humour to make a powerful statement about the consequences of displacing people whose need to stand tall in heir own land is deeply rooted. " John Smythe

" Awhi Tapu’s revelations of small-town violence and arson generated such heat in this small theatre space that it threatened to consume the audience. With this play Albert Belz flew straight into the top echelon of Maori playwrights - he is a natural playwright with an instinctive command of storytelling, structure, character and image-making, with a direct line to the human heart. He is able to delve beyond the smoke and the headlines to expose the awkward subtleties of relations within Maori communities and the cultural clashes that burn behind the tourist shots of the clean green forests of Aotearoa."David O'Donnell

Albert Belz - Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi, Ngati Pokai - was born in Whakatane and apart from stints in Napier and the Minginui Forest, has lived in Auckland from the age of 12. After a stunning debut with his first play Te Maunga, he spent time story-lining for Shortland Street and wrote a screenplay, Mer, which is in an early development phase with The NZ Film Commission.

He has an acting background and recently completed his Masters in Communication as well as working on a screen adaptation of Witi Ihimaera´s The Uncle´s Story, and a new play, The Guardians of Boy.

In 2006 Albert won the Bruce Mason Award for outstanding emerging playwright, and his third play Yours Truly, directed by David O'Donnell for BATS Theatre, won Best Play at the Chapman Tripp theatre awards.

Albert's most recent work includes The Guardians of Boy, Te Karakia, and Whero's New Net.