Teherenui Koteka performing at the Tahi Festival in 2020. – 21042322
Bringing the voices of young Pasifika women to the forefront is a passion of 22-year-old Cook Islands scriptwriter and actor.
Teherenui Koteka, who is born and raised in
the Cook Islands, is passionate about using her voice to highlight important
and often controversial subjects through the use of theatre.
Koteka recently graduated from Victoria
University in Wellington with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in theatre and
film, and minoring in media studies.
She has already written a number of plays
which she has been able to share with – and make an impact on – many people.
Early next month in a one-woman show, Koteka
will perform four pieces of theatre that she has written, titled ‘The Big Fkn
Her performance, at The Islander Hotel on
Thursday May 6, will cover topics such as female empowerment, sexual and
relational health, and LGBTQ+ representation.
Koteka says she is “beyond excited” to share
what she has been working on with members of the Rarotonga community.
“All my plays are Cook Islands’ inspired.
Whether that be by things in our society, ways of living here, or our culture,
you will always find some aspect of the Cook Islands in my work.
“Solely because of that, the work deserves to
be showcased here first before it gets taken anywhere else in the world,” says
She explained how she often finds that by
conversing with others about her opinions – simply talking about certain topics
– can often end in aggression.
“Theatre is definitely a more
non-confrontational way to approach taboo subjects. I don’t want to tell people
what to think through my work, but I want them to leave my show wanting to
learn more about what I’ve just talked about.”
Tickets can be purchased from The Islander
with general admission $40 and VIP tickets – which include a meal – at $45.
Koteka first began scriptwriting during her
time at university in Wellington when she was fortunate enough to be recognised
by a few prominent theatre companies there.
She got her first writing job through a writing
series with Tawata Productions. “When I first joined that series I was so
scared, I did not think I had any talent for writing. I knew I wanted to be an
artist but I was questioning whether I had an actual artistic talent,” she
Since that writing series Koteka has written a
number of plays and theatre pieces with her first full piece ‘Mana Vaine’ being
performed at Rehab in Rarotonga last year.
Having been away from home for over a year,
her aspirations for now are to settle back into being at home and continue to
produce more work that “packs more of a punch”.
As a young Pasifika woman, Koteka says she was
not seeing herself in any of the scripts she was studying at university. “If
you’re not seeing the work out there in the mainstream, then as an artist it’s
your duty to create that work that you wish to see.”
Koteka wants to encourage young people to
learn how they can use their voices as Cook Islanders more strongly.
“There are some incredibly powerful voices
amongst our young people in our country, and it is so important that they be