Mīria George

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Mīria George (born 1980) is a New Zealand writer, producer and director of Māori and Cook Island descent. Best known for being the author of award-winning stage plays, George has also written radio, television and poetry, and was one of the film directors of the portmanteau film Vai. In November 2005, she won the Emerging Pacific Artist's Award at the Arts Pasifika Awards. Mīria George was the first Cook Islands artist to receive the Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency at the University of Hawaii.


Mīria George was born Rotorua, New Zealand, her schooling took place in New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Costa Rica.[1] Her heritage is Māori from Te Arawa and Ngāti Awa, and Cook Islands from Tumutevarovaro, Enua Manu, Ngāti Kuki ‘Ārani.[2] Her father was Ian George, a well-known Cook Island visual artist.[3]

She started writing in 2002 and in 2008 studied in a Masters in Creative Writing from Victoria University of Wellington's International Institute of Modern Letters.[4][5] She lives in Wellington with her partner Hone Kouka who is also a New Zealand playwright and director.[6] In 2001 they co-founded Tawata Productions and Tawata Press, an organisation that supports creative work from Pacific and Māori writers by producing festivals, workshops and tours of performances.[7]


The work of Mīria George has toured New Zealand and internationally, including Canada, Hawai'i, Australia and the United Kingdom.[5] In November 2005, she won the Emerging Pacific Artist's Award at the Arts Pasifika Awards, organised by Creative New Zealand,[8] and two Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for her first play, Ohe Ake.[9] She is one of the people featured in the book Cook Island Heroes to inspire young Cook Islanders.[10]

The political interrogation of the erosion of Māori rights, dignity, and humanity in a Pākehā-dominated New Zealand was forefront of George's best known plays called and what remains. It divided critics and audiences and created a lot of debate. It is regularly taught in schools, and is part of a movement in Māori theatre wider than marae-based traditional stories.[11][12]

Her radio work includes writing episodes in Skinwriting for Radio New Zealand National.[13]

In 2016 George received a three-month Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency at the University of Hawaii. Her focus was to develop a new work called Fire In The Water, Fire In The Sky addressing effects of colonisation, Christianity and climate change in the Pacific.[14]

In a review of her play Sunset Road, Ewen Coleman observed that it "weaves both reality and symbolism through the stories" but that it "initially comes across as languid and slow with little clarity in what is going on not helped by the unnatural delivery of the stilted dialogue".[15]

As co-director of Tawata Productions, George has been part of producing many events in the landscape of New Zealand theatre. This includes the annual Kia Mau Festival founded in 2012 and the Matariki Development Festival, an international indigenous playwrights' festival. In 2017 as part of the Kia Mau Festival, 160 indigenous artists and practitioners took part.[16][17] George won the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2017.[18]

In the book Floating Islanders: Pasifika Theatre in Aotearoa it states, "George has played a prominent role in bringing the politics of Māori and Pasifika issues to the stage."[3]



  • Ohe Ake, The Awakening (play) (2004)[9]
  • And What Remains (play) (2006)[19]
  • He Reo Aroha (play), co-written with Jamie McCaskill (2010)[20]
  • Sunset Road (play) (2012)[21]
  • The Vultures (play) (2016)[21]
  • Urban Hymns (play)


  • The Wet Season (poetry), Wai-te-ata Press[20]


  • Vai (2019) director, writer. Vai is portmanteau feature film made by nine female Pacific filmmakers, filmed in seven different Pacific countries: Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kuki Airani (Cook Islands), Samoa, Niue and Aotearoa (New Zealand).[22]


  1. ^ Sullivan, Robert; Whaitiri, Reina, eds. (2014). Puna wai kōrero : an anthology of Māori poetry in English. Auckland: Auckland University Press. ISBN 978-1-77558-749-1. OCLC 926705581.
  2. ^ "VISION". Tawata Productions. 13 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b Warrington, Lisa; O'Donnell, David, eds. (2017). Floating Islanders : Pasifika theatre in Aotearoa. O'Donnell, David, 1956–. Dunedin, New Zealand. ISBN 978-1-988531-07-6. OCLC 994638351.
  4. ^ "A Way with Words: Miria George". Noted. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Miria George". Playmarket New Zealand. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  6. ^ Mann, Britt (4 June 2017). "At home with Kia Mau festival co-director Mīria George". Stuff. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Ngā Tangata". Tawata Productions. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Arts Pasifika Awards 2005 honour six Pacific artists". The Big Idea. 4 November 2005. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Pacific artists honoured at Arts Awards". NZ Herald. 25 January 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Miria George". Reading Warrior. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  11. ^ Goodall, Adam (8 July 2016). "A Woman, Leaving: An Oral History of 'and what remains'". Pantograph Punch. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  12. ^ Derby, Mark; Grace-Smith, Briar (22 October 2014). "Consolidating Māori theatre, 1990s onwards". Te Ara NZ Encyclopedia. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Skinwriting 2: Miria George and Jaimie McGaskill". Radio New Zealand National. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  14. ^ fulbright. "Mīria George receives Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency 2016". www.fulbright.org.nz. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  15. ^ Coleman, Ewen (7 July 2012). "Tale of family rift has roots in reality". Fairfax Media. The Dominion Post.
  16. ^ Wenman, Eleanor (20 May 2019). "Gather round the stage this winter for indigenous theatre at Kia Mau Festival". Stuff. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  17. ^ "Matariki Development Festival". Circa Theatre. 2015. Archived from the original on 7 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Mīria George Wins the Bruce Mason Award". Playmarket. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  19. ^ Atikinson, Laurie (30 August 2006). "Implausible Leap of Faith Required". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Miria George". playmarket.org.nz. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  21. ^ a b "Mīria George receives Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer's Residency 2016". Fulbright New Zealand. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Vai". New Zealand Film Commission. Retrieved 7 April 2020.