Urale, Makerita (New Zealand)

Makerita Urale is a documentary director and a leading figure in contemporary Polynesian theatre in New Zealand. She has produced landmark productions in the performing arts. She is also a playwright. She is the writer of the play Frangipani Perfume, the first Pacific play written by a woman for an all female cast. Working in different art mediums, Urale also works in film and television. She is the director of the political documentary Children of the Revolution which won the Qantas Award (2008) for Best Māori Programme. Urale was born on the island of Savai'i in Samoa.The family moved to New Zealand in the 1970s where they lived in Wellington. Urale has two brothers and three sisters, and the siblings also work in the arts and media. Urale's sister Sima Urale is an award winning filmmaker and their brother King Kapisi is a hip hop artist.

In 2000, Urale's play Frangipani Perfume (1998) was listed Top 10 plays of the decade by New Zealand literary magazine The Listener. The play was first staged at Bats Theatre in Wellington in 1998 with a cast of three women which included her sister Sima. The director of the first production was Erolia Ifopo followed by other directors when the play toured the country and internationally. In 2004, the play was published by Play Press and is a key text in theatre studies at schools and universities. The play is about three sisters, born in the tropical islands of Polynesia who move to New Zealand where they work as cleaners. The story explores the women's dreams and aspirations through the use of lyrical poetry, imagery and stylised movement. The play was nominated Most Original Production at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. The play has toured in New Zealand as well as internationally including Canada, Australia and UK. It has also had playreadings in Toronto and New York. Urale has written plays for children including The Magic Seashell and Popo the Fairy as well as children's books and feature articles in magazines.

EditorsNew Zealand