2022 Season

NZ Opera Presents:

Star Navigator NZ Opera

9,11 December

Tim Finn

Célestine Hitiura Vaite

Tom McLeod


Originally this production was scheduled for May 2022, but it has been postponed to 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 – Star Navigator 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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