Hone Kouka

Hone Kouka MNZM is a New Zealand playwright. He has written 13 plays which have been staged in New Zealand and worldwide including Canada, South Africa, New Caledonia and Britain. Kouka's plays have won multiple awards at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards, the 'Oscars' of New Zealand theatre. Kouka has also worked as a theatre director and producer. In September 2009, Kouka was honoured with the Insignia of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to contemporary Māori theatre.[1]

Kouka has ancestral ties to the Māori tribes of Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Raukawa.


Born in Balclutha in New Zealand's South Island, Kouka graduated in English from the University of Otago in 1988. Later, he graduated from Toi Whakaari:NZ Drama School in 1990.[2]


Kouka's play Nga Tangata Toa (The Warrior People) is heralded as a masterpiece in New Zealand theatre.[3] Directed by veteran theatre director Colin McColl (NZ Laureate), Nga Tangata Toa was first staged at Taki Rua Theatre in Wellington during the 1990s and won numerous awards at the prestigious Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. In the lead role of Rongomai was award winning actress Nancy Brunning. Nga Tangata Toa was inspired by Henrik Ibsen's play The Vikings of Helgeland.[4]

Nga Tangata Toa was later re-staged at Downstage Theatre in 2006 under the direction of James Beaumont.

In 1996, Kouka was commissioned by the New Zealand International Arts Festival to write Waiora, which later toured nationally and internationally in 1997. Waiora became the first play in a trilogy which include Home Fires (1998) and The Prophet.[5]

Other plays include Waiora, Hide 'n' Seek, co-written with Hori Ahipene and Five Angels.

Kouka is the founder and Artistic Director of independent theatre production company Tawata Productions, staging new New Zealand plays nationally and internationally.


  • 1994 Nga Tangata Toa: Victoria University Press ISBN 0-86473-278-3
  • 1992 Mauri Tu: Aoraki Press ISBN 0-908925-01-8
  • 2000 Waiora: Huia Publishers ISBN 0-908975-27-9


  • Bruce Mason Playwriting Award (1992)
  • NZ Order of Merit (2009) for services to contemporary Māori theatre[6]


  1. "Meeting of Niue Assembly". Gg.govt.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  2. "- New Zealand Book Council". Bookcouncil.org.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  3. "The Return Of A New Zealand Masterpiece - Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2009-09-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "The Prophet — Salient". Salient.org.nz. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  6. "The Queen's Birthday Honours List 2009". The Queen's Birthday Honours List 2009. Retrieved 2019-11-16.

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