The Whale Rider

by Witi Ihimaera

Adapted for the stage by Tim Bray

Created for Ages: 5 – 10
Show Run Time: 50 mins

24 Sep – 12 Nov

Performed at Capital E Festival in Wellington in 2017 and at the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) World Congress in 2016


A modern classic of Aotearoa 

We are thrilled to bring Witi Ihimaera’s classic story The Whale Rider back to the stage in a children’s theatre show unmatched. This beautifully rich story of whānau and tikanga is masterfully translated into a live performance that will absorb the viewer, from start to end. A poignant tale of forging paths and self-belief, this is the show all children need to see.

Destined to become leader of her tribe, no matter how hard she tries to show her worth, Kahu’s koro (grandfather) won’t accept that a kōtiro (girl) can take over his role of chief. But a rescue of the ancient whale beached in the Whāngārā Harbour, changes things.

Hailed the ‘most intelligent Tim Bray production’ in 2014 by KickArts

Book your tickets here below:

Covid-19 Peace of Mind

Purchase your tickets to ‘Badjelly the Witch’ with peace of mind. If you find you have to self-isolate because of Covid-19 on the day of your selected performance, then your tickets can be rescheduled to another show or be refunded.

In event of self-isolation, please contact the ticketing company – The PumpHouse Theatre by email to info@pumphouse.co.nz  or Eventfinda (for Māngere Arts Centre performances – Email : support@eventfinda.co.nz for refund requests ).

We’re doing our best to make sure ‘Badjelly the Witch’ can go ahead safely in 2022. All of our cast/crew and volunteers are vaccinated and we are following government health guidelines. Sadly, due to the current environment our cast will unable to do their usual meet and greet with the audience in the courtyard after the show. We apologise for any disappointment.

Audio Described + Touch Tour

The PumpHouse Theatre: Tue 27 Sep 1pm and  Sat 15 Oct 1pm. Touch Tour at 12pm

Māngere Arts Centre: Wed 9 Nov 10:30am, Touch Tour at 9:30am and Sat 12 Nov 1pm, Touch Tour at 12:00pm

Sensory Relaxed

The PumpHouse Theatre:  Mon 10 Oct 10:30am. Pres-show introduction at 10:15am

NZ Sign Language Interpreted

The PumpHouse Theatre: Sat 24 Sep 5pm and Sat 15 Oct 10:30am

Wed 28 Sep 10:30am + Deaf Touch Tour, explore on stage at 9:30am

Vodafone Event Centre: Thurs 20 Oct 10:30am  and Sat 22 Oct 10:30am

Te Oro: Sat 29 Oct 10:30am

Glen Eden Playhouse: Sat 5 Nov 10:30am

Māngere Arts Centre: Sat 12 Nov 10:30am

+ “The kids were enthralled. The girls were empowered and the boys were moved. A beautifully generous offering to the intelligence and soul of our children!”

Tamati Patuwai from Mad Ave Studios as Kaitakawaenga (Māori Advisor) to The Whale Rider (2014)

+ “Poignant, thought-provoking and important”

Jo Hodgson, Theatreview

+ “Tim’s proposal is ingenious and accessible to children. I am confident that the outcome will be a production that will captivate its young audiences and, especially, inspire them to always keep looking forward with optimism to their own futures as adults in a challenging world. The whales are magically represented by small and large scale framed puppets made by Becky Ehlers and the actors capture the beauty of these majestic creatures through their movements and the vocalisations are both mesmerising and heart-breaking. 

Author, Witi Ihimaera

+ “It is a beautiful and gently told tale, adapted for the stage from the 2005 picture-book version of the original 1987 novel and directed by the sure, tender hand of Mr Bray himself.  Bearing the company’s trademark stamp of ingenuity,The Whale Riderwill charm children and adults alike, at least all who share its palpable regard for humanity, its compassion and its preference to at least try to be with nature instead of defying it….

…The Whale Rider is a modern classic”

Nik Smythe, Theatreview 

+ “Thank you very much for the amazing opportunity to watch your amazing show “The Whale Rider” show. That was amazing. My favourite part was when it looked like the deep blue sea and also when the whales came out. Hopefully I get to come and watch one of your shows next time”.

Maya, Room 13, Clendon Park School, Manurewa – Gift a Seat recipients


We have venue specific discounted ticket pricing for Schools and Early Childhood Education providers. Pricing is listed under the link to the venues’ online booking platform, below. Invoicing is also an option – please refer to our Terms and Conditions provided.

Term 3: The PumpHouse Theatre, Takapuna

Pricing for The PumpHouse Theatre

School Promo – 1 free adult per 10 children

School/Education Group 50+ tickets: $13.00 each

School/Education Group 20 – 49 tickets: $15.00 each

School/Education Group 10 – 19 tickets: $27.00 each

Terms and Conditions for Invoiced Bookings for The PumpHouse Theatre, click here.

Term 4:  Vodafone Events Centre, Manukau

Te Oro, Glen Innes
Glen Eden Playhouse, Glen Eden
Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, Māngere

Pricing for the above four venues
School or ECC groups of 20+ tickets: $11 each

Terms and Conditions for Invoiced Bookings for the above four venues, click here

Our Gift a Seatscholarship programme offers students from low decile schools who would otherwise miss out on live theatre, the opportunity to attend our shows through FREE tickets. Please click here to apply to our Gift a Seat™ programme for free seats to The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera and here to apply to our Gift a Seat™ programme for free seats to The Santa Claus Show ’22 by Tim Bray.

We also provide a comprehensive cross-curricular Teachers’ Resource Guide with pre and post show learning outcomes FREE of charge for all School and ECE bookings. Our Teachers Resource Guides are created to support further learning prior to and after your students attend one of our performances. TRG Sample


By arrangement with Playmarket.org.nz

Past Shows

The Santa Claus Show 2022

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