Following graduating, Rose returned to Toi Whakaari to design costumes and the set of Rachel House’s interpretation of Bruce Mason poignant work The Pohutukawa Tree.

The Pohutukawa Tree by one of New Zealand’s iconic playwrights is set in the 1950s New Zealand, a country on the cusp of change. A proud and spiritual Maori matriarch, Aroha attempts to instruct her children in Pakeha ways. But the post-war world of the 1950s has arrived and she is left increasingly isolated as everything she loves and stands for comes under siege.

This version also featured one of New Zealand’s first Audio Described performances, initiated by Production Manager Sarah Adams.

“In Rose Kirkup’s setting the central issue of land in the play is powerfully emphasized with a vast bare stage edged with fallen Pohutukawa flowers. At the back are the bare hills, now devoid of totara and thick bush that, as one of the Pakeha proudly says, took just two generations to make look like rolling English countryside. Aroha’s Pohutukawa tree is suggested by a beam of light and falling flowers.” Laurie Atkinson, Dominion Post

“The actors sit on chairs down either side of the performance space behind red strips of shredded Pohutukawa flowers… the titular Pohutukawa tree and the dripping of shredded red ‘flowers’ from above is an excellent visual metaphor.” John Smythe, Theatreview

20 – 30 October 2010
Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre,
11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington

Jonathan Kenyon:   Roy McDowell
Tola Newbery:   Rev Athol Sedgwick
James Tito:   Johnny Mataira
Moana Ete:   Aroha Mataira
Richard Osborne:   Dr. Lomas
Melissa Reeve:   Mrs. Atkinson
Bianca Seinafo:   Queenie Mataira
Helen Grant:   Sylvia Atkinson
Robert Hartley:   Claude Johnson
Chelsea Bognuda:   Mrs. Johnson/ Sergeant Robinson
Phillip Ward:   Clive Atkinson
Justin Hurst*:  George Rawlings
*Victoria University
Director:   Rachel House
Set and Costume Designer:   Rose Kirkup
Lighting Designer:   Morgan Whitfield
Sound Designer:   Alana Kelly
Production Manager:   Sarah Adams
Stage Manager:   Eleanor Cooke
Deputy Stage Manager:   Sophie Dowson
Set Construction Manager:   Richard Child
Props Master:   Amber Maxwell
Costume Supervisor:   Samantha Bell
Lighting Assistant & Operator:   Karena Letham
Sound Assistant & Operator:   Roslyn Craig
Assistant Stage Manager:   Joseph Mahoney
Set Build/ Show Crew:   Matt Eller
Set Build/ Show Crew:   Tessa Alderton
Props Assistant/ Show Crew:   Nicola Smith
Props Assistant/Show Crew:   Hamish Baxter-Broad
Costumiers:   Brighde Penn, Oliver Black, Charlotte Baptist, Sophie Tucker, Lisa Doherty, Amanda McBride, Cara Louise Waretini
Design Assistants:   Helen Boebel, Susan Douthett, Rachel Hilliar, Nina Smith-Stevens, Lucy Stone, Theo Wijnsma, Violet Wilson-Baird
Audio Description:   Erina Daniels
Waiata and haka composer:   Tweedie Waititi
Wedding song by Tweedie Waititi and Tama Waipara