Past Event

dolphins and pearls

Hātarei 26 Māehe -
Hātarei 30 Āperira

Saturday 26 March -
Saturday 30 April



dolphins and pearls

dolphins and pearls presents a collection of love songs from Tui Vutu to Tokairahe. This work pays tribute to Tui’s retrieval of Tokairahe’s shell necklace, an act of devotion in which he chased down Dakuwaqa, the mighty Shark God.

Tui Vutu, dolphins and pearls, 2022

[from 00:41]
You are my life
The sun can’t compare to your light
You are my dream
The moon can’t compare to your beams

Day breaks so free
I’m glad every moment you are close to me
Tomorrow will be
Another day of love everlasting

You are my life
The sun can’t compare to your light
You are my dream
The moon can’t compare to your beams

[from 07:02]
Dakuwaqa the Shark God, lived long ago in the seas of Fiji and was regarded as the most viscous of all gods that protected the reefs and the ocean.

The young son of god Tui Lakeba and goddess Liku Cava, Tokairahe, was skillful not just with his hands, but was skillful with magic.

Using a precious shell necklace he crafted all-powerful fishing hooks, giving him dominion over the ocean. The creatures of the ocean made a plea to Dakuwaqa, their guardian, to put an end to these hooks.

Dakuwaqa swam far away from his home to the island of Lakeba in the southern Lau group. He waited patiently, plotting his attack on Tokairahe.

It was on the third day when his patience was rewarded. Tokairahe walked out onto the white stretch of fine sand wearing nothing but the magical shell necklace which dangled from his neck and glimmered in the bright sunlight. Confidently, he dove into the ocean and with powerful strokes swam towards the reef.

Tokairahe could feel the spirit of the shark god around him but before he could act to save his shell necklace, Dakuwaqa rose up high and grabbed it with his strong teeth, pulling it over the young man’s head.

Within a moment he was gone leaving no trail. With a heart wrenching cry, Tokairahe tried to follow. His shell necklace was his most precious possession.

Flying high above the ocean in the form of a kingfisher was Tokairahe’s childhood friend, Tui Vutu, a shapeshifter, who had seen everything.

From high up, he could make out Dakuwaqa’s triangular fin slicing through the waves, headed for his home in Vanua Balavu. Dakuwaqa was fast but Tui’s wings took on a magical element as they pounded through the air, driven by his love for Tokairahe who was in great despair. He had to recover the precious necklace.

In a moment he was directly above Dakuwaqa. His dark shadow caused Dakuwaqa to gaze up to the sky and as he did his jaw widened to reveal the necklace. Tui swooped downwards, snatching it from Dakuwaqa’s jaw, and hastened back to Lakeba to his dear Tokairahe.

Videographer/Video Editor:
Marzia Solarian

Mix and Master:
Jos van Beek

This work is presented as part of Blue Oyster Performance Series, an experimental performance series which is part of Dunedin Fringe Festival and supported by Creative New Zealand.

Live performance and visual arts converge in the Blue Oyster Performance Series. In 2022 we are bringing back the Blue Oyster Performance Series, which existed for nearly a decade showcasing exciting experimental and interdisciplinary performance. All events either in person or online are free to attend and open to all.

Tui Vutu

Tui Vutu is the moniker of J, an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. Raised in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and Naarm, J hails from Levuka, Fiji. They explore expansiveness within hardware confines.