Pohutukawa Tree, The
First published 1960
The Pohutukawa Tree is one of a sequence of five plays on Māori themes which attempts to come to terms with a native people after a century of foreign occupation, and with a transplanted European population after a century of settlement. The sequence is published by VUP in the volume The Healing Arch.
The Pohutukawa Tree has at its centre Aroha Mataira, kaumātua of her tribe, who has adopted Christianity with a severity rare among Europeans, and who feels her commitment to the tribal land she lives on so strongly she cannot follow her tribe to their new home. She was described by James Bertram as ‘the outstanding “big part” hitherto conceived by a New Zealand dramatist’, and by young Māori leaders as ‘wrong but authentic’. A classic of New Zealand theatre.