Quinton Hita journeys out into the Ngāpuhi regions in search of conversation with kaumātua who have led extraordinary lives.
Kōwhao Rau Presenter ‐ Ngāpuhi, Executive Producer
Quinton Hita began his career in the media more than a decade ago, with a job writing Māori news for Kia Ora FM in Manawatu whilst teaching Māori at the local city council. This led to a job presenting Mai Time on TV2 for two years, working at the same time for Ruia Mai where he produced, wrote, and presented Ka Hao te Rangatahi.
After Mai Time, Quinton was approached by Harper Collins to write a book teaching Māori language to rangatahi - Q’s Course in Māori was the result. Quinton then went north for six months to work at Tautoko FM as an announcer, after which, he returned to Auckland to take up a full time announcer’s job at Mai FM.
During this time, he produced Te Kete Takiwa for Ruia Mai and the Ministry of Education. Shortly afterwards Quinton joined the Māori children’s television series Pūkana as the show’s anchor, a three year stint covering a number of positions including presenter, writer, director and Te Reo Māori consultant.
An appointment to the board of the Māori Language Commission began a six year term as a youth representative on that board.
Quinton took time off throughout this period to act in three films, culminating in a two year contract as part of the core cast of Shortland Street, where he eventually traded in his acting hat for that of a writer as well as a Māori script editor.
Now head of Kura Productions (a joint venture with South Pacific Pictures), Quinton has seen Kura Productions produce over 400 hours of television after almost a decade in business.
- Kupuhuna, series two ‐ four
- Pūkoro, series two ‐ seven
- Search4Stars - Rangatahi Talent Show
- Tōku Reo, series one ‐ five
- Kōwhao Rau, series one ‐ five
Quinton produced two award winning shorts films, executive producing five others under the Shortfilm Pod initiative of the New Zealand Film Commission. Most recently Quinton enjoyed success with the release of local feature film Mt Zion of which he worked on as a Producer.
Q&A with Quinton Hita
- Any highlights for you this season?
We’re one step closer to the magic 100. One of my dreams for this show has been to capture and archive a hundred native Ngāpuhi speakers. That archive would then be the closest thing we have to a definitive blueprint of the Ngāpuhi dialect, and could be a major resource in the continued survival of te reo o Ngāpuhi.
- What was some of the most interesting things you learnt this season, or was there anything that surprised you?
It was satisfying to finally get some kaumatua on camera that I’ve been chasing for a few years but who have avoided me! There are still a few out there, and I plan to catch them in the near future. But I'm content for the time being, given the calibre of these kaumatua.
- Looking back, how does this season compare with the others? How has it changed and grown? Is there anything in particular that stands out about this season?
The major point of difference with this series is we have left the ‘homelands’ of Northland. The majority of Ngāpuhi, including native speakers, live outside the kainga. That makes for a more diverse range of subjects being discussed, as those who moved out of Northland often have vastly different life experiences, from each other, and from those who stayed at home and whose lives are predominantly similar rural experiences.
- How does this series further assist in the promotion and preservation of Māori culture, language and tikanga?
Kōwhao Rau has become synonymous with the pinnacle of quality Māori language. It’s watched and studied by learners of te reo Māori across the country. It has also attracted a large following because of the tikanga it examines and explains, tikanga from a past era, many of which still have relevance today. It has become a celebrated case study of what is possible through the medium of television in terms of intergenerational transmission of the reo and tikanga.