Playwright Justin Eade brings a pivotal part of the history of Te Tauihu to life on stage after a successful open rehearsal as part of Tuku 21 Whakatū Heritage Month.

The Wairau Affray is about the ill-fated attempt by Nelson colonists to confront Te Rauparaha at Tuamarina in an 1843 land dispute. It was the first major armed clash between Māori and Pākehā in New Zealand, the only one ever in the South Island.

Earlier this year, as part of Tuku 21 Whakatū Heritage Month, actors read excerpts from the play in an open rehearsal, and Ngāti Toa Rangatira shared the historical significance of the event. In 2019, Justin held a series of readings and Q+As as part of the Nelson Heritage Festival.

"While the story is about Ngāti Toa tūpuna tāne (ancestors), and I've been privileged to have the support of Ngāti Toa Rangatira ki Wairau, it is told from the Nelson settlers perspective, so as not to appropriate someone else's story," Justin says.

The Wairau Affray is at the Theatre Royal, 1 to 3 July, starting at 7.30pm.

For bookings go to the Nelson Theatre Royal website.