Matu Ngaropo – 2003

Matu was in the 3rd SGCNZ NSSP, in 1998, from which has was chosen to be in SGCNZ YSC 1999. At the conclusion of this time at the Globe, Matu did an Internship at Globe Education.

Since graduating from Toi Whakaari there have been many memorable experiences in Matu’s career.  “I must say that during my final year of drama school being asked to play Othello at Centrepoint was certainly a huge surprise and marked a clear change from student to professional for me.  But being still a student meant that I wasn’t able to be paid and I definitely would have struggled had it not been for Chris’ support through the Museum Hotel Scholarship.”
Matu was then lucky enough to work with Mike Mizrahi and Marie Adams’  company  ‘Inside Out Productions’ and their Rugby World Cup Inflatable Ball Project in association with Tourism NZ,  performing all over the world to many Dignitaries including Her Majesty The Queen, Helen Clarke, John Key and the IRB President and his international committee.

Matu then worked for Kura Productions presenting a children’s show all in Te Reo Maori for Maori TV.  “I love the energy of this work, what it stands for and the fact that we speak Maori not only in front of the camera but in our general workspace as well. It is the primary language we work in and for me it’s definitely a highlight.”

Playing Hermia in an all-male cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was hugely challenging and a once in a life-time opportunity.  “I had a ball.”  Matu has been part of 11 full-length Shakespeare productions including Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida and Love’s Labour’s Lost  by the time he was 27. “I believe that this is a huge achievement!”

Matu performed at the Frankfurt Book Fair, notably reading Hone Tuwhare’s Rain.
In 2012 Matu was part of the Maori Troilus and Cressida which opened the international Globe to Globe Festival in London at Shakespeare’s Globe pre the London Olympics.  “This was an absolute career highlight for me, performing back at the place where my love of theatre was discovered.  I played the role of Achilles alongside Globe Fellow Rawiri Paratene and it was a dream come true.  Surreal and deeply moving.  Our Maori spirit, tradition and warrior culture felt so at home on that stage and I still have to pinch myself to remember that that experience really happened.”

Matu returned to NZ and, with a couple of the other members of this company, formed the Modern Maori Quartet, which is now performing nationwide and is resurrecting the show band culture of yesteryear and bringing it to modern audiences.  “It’s a great company and I’m so proud of the outreach and responsibility we are showing to Maori communities and NZ as a whole through this work.”

However, recently Matu has been lucky enough to take his career one step further and has joined the Australian company of Disney’s The Lion King.  He has been touring Australia for 18 months now as a singer in the show and as the understudy for both the royal brothers, Mufasa and Scar.  “It is a privilege, an incredible opportunity and just another level of work quality and ethic above anything I have ever known.  I am working with practitioners, singers, actors, musicians, dancers and creative teams that are internationally renowned and respected.

Through this experience I know I am growing and developing into not only a more well-rounded and precise performer but also a better man.  From here, the possibility of working back on the West End or venturing into Broadway is so much closer.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  But for now I’m loving the learning and enjoying every moment and challenge.”

“Since finishing The Lion King in Australia I’ve returned to take up  creative direction for the Modern M?ori Quartet. Also swinging the show when one is unavailable to perform. We are looking forward to a Hawaiian tour in November and a busy summer season of shows all over NZ.”