ADVICE: Red, White and Copper the piece – tailored to a live audience.

Photo: RedRaven.nieuws.
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John Pulu | Presenter/reporter/director

I don’t like blowing my own trumpet, but Red, White and Copper made me so proud to be Tongan.

Yes, last year’s hit film starring the talented John-Paul (JP) Foliaki as Maka is now on stage and currently playing at the ASB Waterfront Theater in Auckland.

Rewind to the movie.

I was in tears during the opening scene of the movie, when Maka was dancing on the roof of a house to the song Happy, happy Tonga. This was no ordinary film, it made history. Finally, an original Tongan/New Zealand story hits the big screen. It made me māfana (Tongan for inner feeling of warmth) because it had a lot of heart and exuded Tongan pride.

Reporter John Pulu at the Red, White and Brass: The Play show night. Photo: John Lulu / Tagata Pasifika.

Fast forward to the stage.

The same thing happened again; I was emotional (aaaue!) and sat among a diverse group of people, but mainly Tongans who came dressed in their number one – ta’ovala and kiekie. It was the first time I witnessed an audience that mālie! sing along to the hymns and even waved the Tongan flags during the show. Yep, only Tongans do that lol, one of the lines I remember was “You Tongans are always a little extra” and that’s absolutely correct because when we’re māfana we go 100.

High note!

Mālō ‘aupito to the creative team Leki Jackson-Bourke, Vela Manusaute and Anapela Polataivao et al. who told the story and wove in our lea faka-Tonga. Another reason to be māfana, because our mother tongue was as loud as a trumpet resounding in a place you don’t often hear. I’ve seen Shakespeare’s King Lear in this theater and that is a completely different dialect and world, but I will tell you what touches Red, White and Brass differently.

Maka (JP Foliaki). Photo: @jpofficialartist.

Standing ovation

The theater makers deserve a round of applause! The amazing cast was amazing! It was a delight to have the same Maka from the movie, now belting out some smooth vocals, epic dance moves, and downright funny one-liners. Some of the original actors Haans Fa’avae Jackson, Mikey Falesiu and Onetoto Ikavuka have joined JP Foliaki for the live show – proving their ability to work both on screen and in the theater scene. We even have live Tongan brass Maamaloa Brass on stage to make it even more authentic – I love that!

One of my favorite lines from the play “You Tongans always go the extra mile” (absolutely paraphrased). I love it because it’s so true and that’s māfana. I can’t wait for the movie or stage production to follow.

But now you can march to the play by booking via the link below:

Get your tickets here.