Synopsis by Jason Buchanan
A Maori take on one of William Shakespeare's most enduring plays, The Maori Merchant of Venice offers a new take on the classic tale as it explores the complications of religious discrimination, revenge, and the politics of business. Desperate to court the beautiful Portia (Ngarimu Daniels), Christian Bassanio (Te Rangihau Gilbert) approaches best friend, Antonio (Scott Morrison), for the money to do so, though Antonio's funds are currently tied up in ships that are currently out to sea. Wishing to accommodate his good friend, Antonio in turn takes a loan from Jewish moneylender Shylock (Waihoroi Shortland), who, well aware of Antonio's questionable business ethics and racist nature, agrees to loan him the funds on the morbid condition that if he is unable to repay the loan in cash, he must offer instead a pound of his own flesh. Shylock is subsequently crushed when his daughter Jessica elopes with Christian Lorenzo (Te Arepa Kahi), all the while stealing from her father. Though Bassanio passes a difficult test set by Portia's deceased father and wins her hand in marriage, he soon gets news that Antonio's ships have sunk and his old friend has been arrested at the request of Shylock, who remains eager to collect his due. Despite Bassanio's desperate please to save his friend and offer to double the original loan's return with money from the wealthy Portia, Shylock's thirst for utu (revenge) leaves Bassanio in a tight spot that may not be so easy to escape.