A masterpiece penned by one of the greatest playwrights has been a reversion to a Māori setting and is being presented by some of our finest Māori actors and the Auckland Theatre Company.

The adaptation of 'The Cherry Orchard' written by Anton Chekhov opened the other night in Auckland to a packed house.    

The story is originally based in Russia in the 70's that talks about an intelligent and caring farming family, hopelessly in debt and if they don't have the funds, their property, including the cherry orchard will go to auction. 

The Auckland Theatre Company have relocated the story to fit within a Māori context, talking about the hard times in the 70's.

Actor Rawiri Paratene says it highlights what was happening in NZ back then. 


"So the time of the land march, land issues and bringing a Māori perspective into a Russian classic to me is very special." 


Actor Te Kohe Tuhaka says it's been great to hear te reo Māori spoken by the cast.


"Iti noa engari te wairua, kaha rawa atu te wairua Māori o te whakaari."


This was Chekhov's last masterpiece and half of the cast are of Māori descent and Paratene has a challenge to Māoridom.


"It's really hard for us to get Māori to come to attend these kinds of events and venues. I think it's time for Māori repossess these places." 


The show opened the other night at the ASB Waterfront Venue and comes to an end on June 26.