In the year 2000, four children were welcomed into four families who shared their dreams, fears and hopes for their babies in WHĀNAU, a special documentary project that set out to get a glimpse of what it means to be Māori in the new millennium.
Now in WHĀNAU 2014, which screens at 9.30pm on Monday, October 13 on Māori Television, we meet these children again as they embark on the next stage in their lives. The early parts of their lives – from pregnancy and birth to pre-school – were traced in WHĀNAU, which screened on TV3 in 2001 and won Best Māori Programme at the 2002 New Zealand Television awards.
WHĀNAU 2007 provided an update of the busy lives of four very diverse whānau. It screened on Māori Television in 2008. Producer/director Kay Ellmers, from Tumanako Productions, says the project explores whether, 100 years on from being declared on ‘the brink of extinction’, Māori would step out from the shadow of colonisation. “It was clear that the babies of 2000 were being born into a very different social climate than their ancestors a century earlier.” Ellmers says a project of this nature requires an extraordinary commitment from the participants. “It’s a huge honour as a documentary maker to be welcomed into their lives and shown this level of trust.
WHĀNAU 2014 catches up with the children - KaHana Ngawati, Koare Hudson, Pianika Ormsby and Uenukukopako Angus – and their families to find out what has happened since we last saw them. Building a true portrait of their lives, they share their thoughts on their education, their whānau and iwi connections; their interests and hobbies; their hopes and expectations for the future and what it means to them to be Māori.
Some have known the highs of success, the stress of unemployment or the excitement of new opportunities. All have known the ups and downs of family life. Some have welcomed new family members, and others have said farewell. Through it all, how have the four children developed and how are they now navigating their early teenage years?
Tune in to Māori Television at 9.30pm on October 13 to find out in WHĀNAU 2014.
KaHana Ngawati (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Porou)
KaHana has been a boarder at Dilworth School since 2012. This year he moved to their rural campus at the base of the Hunua ranges for a special Year 9 learning programme. His mother Renei has recently completed her Masters in Health Science and had a baby girl – Hinerakeimauria with her fiancé Hohepa MacLean.
Koare Hudson (Whakatohea, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao/Ngāti Rarua)
Koare lives in Hamilton with his parents and two younger siblings. His mother Brandi lives in Auckland from Monday – Thursday each week, where she is the CEO of the Independent Māori Statutory Board. His father Maui also has a high powered career as the Deputy Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato, and juggles this with what Brandi describes as ‘part-time solo parenting’.
Pianika Ormsby (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahungunu)
Pianika was the sixth baby and a ‘millennium surprise’ for her Mormon parents. The family now lives in Tauranga. Pianika was the first of her siblings to attend kōhanga reo and then remained in rūmaki reo education until Year 5 when she asked to move to mainstream schooling for broader opportunities for extra-curricular activities and sport. Pianika – “I think after school I can imagine myself going to University, like it’s kind of compulsory in my family, I want to be a dentist…in the future I think life is going to get busier and busier”
Uenukukopako Angus (Ngāti Porou, Tuhourangi, Ngāti Whakaue)
Uenukukopako was born at home in the tiny settlement of Kennedy Bay in the Coromandel. His family moved to Wellington when he was five, but the need for a teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Harataunga called his mother Mereana home in 2008, and she is now the sole charge principal. Mereana says issues of cultural identity receive less focus from Uenuku and his peers: “I think that’s always been more of our generation’s problem you know, defining ourselves as Māori…for Uenuku being Māori is not a kaupapa until it’s mentioned.”
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