2022 Season

NZ Opera Presents:

Star Navigator NZ Opera

9,11 December

Tim Finn

Célestine Hitiura Vaite

Tom McLeod


New Zealand Opera and Orchestra Wellington are disappointed to announce the postponement of Ihitai’Avei’a – Star Navigator from 13 & 14 May to new dates of 9 & 11 December 2022.  This change has been necessary due to the current red traffic light setting, which restricts audience numbers and makes rehearsing and preparing for this production difficult to undertake safely at this time. The health and wellbeing of everyone involved in this production is our absolute priority.

We hope that postponing the presentation until later in the year will mean the situation will be less risky for both audiences and participants. Tickets will be automatically transferred to the new dates. Alternatively, ticket holders will be offered the option of a full refund and will be contacted directly about this.

We thank you for your patience and understanding at this time, and look forward to sharing this important and transformative work to the Wellington region in December.


Ihitai’Avei’a – Star Navigator

Aboard a cramped British scientific vessel in the vastness of the Pacific, two navigators find themselves locked on a collision course.
One is a Tahitian priest, guided by his ancient knowledge of star pathways. The other a naval officer, desperate to prove both himself and his faith in science.

This beautiful and haunting new work by composer Tim Finn, co-composer Tom McLeod, with Tahitian monologues by Célestine Hitiura Vaite, tells the story of Tupaia, the Tahitian star navigator who sailed with James Cook, on the maiden voyage of the Endeavour in 1769. Ihitai’Avei’a – Star Navigator explores the relationship between two master mariners, each from vastly different worlds, both far from home and unable to find their way into each other’s world.

After a sold out world premiere in Auckland in 2021, we are delighted to present Ihitai’Avei’a – Star Navigator at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua with Orchestra Wellington.


Commissioned by West Australian Opera with New Zealand Opera.  Co-presented by New Zealand Opera and Orchestra Wellington.

What People Say

When Ihitai’Avei’a received its world premiere last year, all three performances were sold out and received standing ovations. The response to this work was staggering!

Click here for audience feedback and reviews.

Creative Team

Conductor: Uwe Grodd
Director: John Davies
Musical Supervisor: Tom McLeod
Lighting Designer: Bryce Holmes
Principal Répétiteur: TBC
Language Coach: Ena Manuireva


Purea: Marlena Devoe
Tupaia: Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono
James Cook: Paul Whelan
Orator: Norah Stevenson-Tuuga
Teata: Risati Malagamaalii



9 Dec 8:00pm  &  11 Dec 2:00pm

Te Rauparaha Arena


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