Taranaki’s teen artist prepares to take center stage

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Hāwera's Jewel Te Wiki performs as part of Te Rākau Theater Group's production of The Swing.  (Photo provided)

Jewel Te Wiki / Stuff

Hāwera’s Jewel Te Wiki performs as part of Te Rākau Theater Group’s production of The Swing. (Photo provided)

A teenager from Taranaki says she’s not afraid to bring up divisive topics when on stage because there are stories that need to be heard.

Jewel Te Wiki is part of Te Rākau Theatre, which is a combined arts training and youth development program run by Jim Moriarty.

The 18-year-old will perform as part of the band’s production of The swingin Wellington from July 23 to 24.

The work tells the story of a whānau struggling to recover from sexual abuse and suicide.

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It is based on a research project conducted by kaupapa between Wellington’s Kōkiri Marae and Massey University.

The Hāwera High School alum was unintimidated by some of the darker aspects of the work and said the themes were relevant to the rangatahi in Aotearoa.

“It is important that the rangatahi and their whānau are aware of the issues we are talking about in the play, as they are more common than we realize.”

Te Wiki was an experienced stage performer and had been with Te Rākau since the beginning of the year.

“I grew up on stage and have been in drama, kapa haka and dance groups all my life.

“I like acting because it allows me to express how I feel while telling a story through movement.”

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