Whero’s New Net, by Albert Belz, is a play inspired by The New Net Goes Fishing, Witi Ihimaera’s 1977 collection of short stories looking at the experiences of rural Maori moving to the cities.

This play takes the idea forward to the next generation, looking at Whero (played by Bree Peters), a young Maori woman living in London and trying to make a break as a singer-songwriter. She’s rather good, but a little nervous and somewhat overshadowed by Red, her confident, glamorous musical partner.

Whero is supported by her Irish manager and his boyfriend, also urban Maori. All is going well, when Whero meets a mysterious stranger – an East Coast Maori fulla who has the diary of her deceased father.

And it’s there that things get interesting, with Whero having to deal with aspects of her family’s past, her present and the pressures of the future.

The Massive Theatre Company production tells a dramatic, emotion and funny (the "haka lesson" scene is fast becoming legendary) story, told well through Sam Scott’s direction and the versatile set by Tracy Collins.

The play is full of songs – both quoted snippets of old pop tunes (I didn’t expect to hear bloody Bros at Downstage, that’s for sure) and original music by Tama Waipara.

Whero’s New Net reminds me of the idea that you can try running away from your troubles, but sometimes they’ll sneak into your suitcase and come along for the ride.

And while the story was set in London, I can see a bit of relevance for a town like Wellington that attracts more than its fair share of cultural migrants, and having to deal with their old troubles in a new city.

It’s a wonderful piece of new New Zealand theatre.

Whero’s New Net plays at Downstage until Saturday, August 29.