Rangatahi mō Papatūānuku – Meet Te Mahara, rangatahi filmmaker and co-facilitator

Department of Conservation —  05/03/2021

Te Mahara has jumped onboard with developing the online workshops this past month to help other rangatahi tell their stories about how Papatūānuku can thrive for the Rangatahi mō Papatūānuku video competition. Having a strong passion for storytelling I (Ngato) figured to chat with Te Mahara to shine light on his journey with filmmaking and his thoughts on this kaupapa. Here’s how it went!

Kia ora Te Maharaaaa! Could you tell the people reading this a little about yourself?

“Kia Ora! My name is Te Mahara Tamehana, 18, of Ngāti Hine/Ngāpuhi descent. I grew up the youngest of four sisters, in a single-parent household. Born and raised in my favourite place in the world, the “FFN” (Far North). I suppose I’m a bit of a filmmaker.”

📷: Te Mahara interviewing and researching for his short film Street Lights that will be professionally shot this year!

I’m sure you have a lot of stories to tell from the Far North yet but what was it that made you want to pursue filmmaking?

“Filmmaking for me became my way of personal expression, a sense of relief almost. I just remember growing up around boys that were always so quiet and brooding, and their way of releasing that kind of, inside voice, was through violence. And that became my reality for so many years.”

“But after attending a film workshop in Kaitaia, through Māoriland Film, I was put in this safe; non-judgmental, creative environment where I could just be me. They threw that pad in front of me and I just wrote all my thoughts and ideas down for this film; I filled every single corner of that page! I made my first short film about mental health and toxic masculinity, and I knew that this was a profession that I had to pursue. It was like a breath of fresh air.”

📷: Doing prep work for the annual Māoriland Film Festival in rangatahi filmmaker group, Ngā Pakiaka.

You’ve also produced a documentary with DOC. Could you tell us a bit about that journey?

“In August 2019, I was offered the opportunity to travel down to Fox Glacier, alongside DOC Kaitaia and Te Kura Taumata o Panguru, to shoot a short film about the final week of the Fox riverbed clean up.”

“I was given a week to prepare all the equipment I’d need, and at the time I had a very humble little kit with only iMovie to edit on. I put my all into making this film with the resources I had available and I guess it all came together in the end.”

🎥: Tidy Fox documentary.

From working on Tidy Fox to co-facilitator for the Rangatahi mō Papatūānuku online workshops; what made you want to be a part of this kaupapa?

“I think the past couple of years have really shown us the effects global warming has had on the environment and the people in it. The time to tell these stories is now and the people to do it are rangatahi. Let them paint that picture and decide that narrative, because in the end we will be the ones to inherit the planet.”

📷: Volunteers and a beautiful rainbow from the Tidy Fox clean up in 2019.

Get involved!

There you have it whānau! Rangatahi will be the ones living in a future dictated by the decisions made today, therefore tell your friends, make a video and have your say! Check out the Rangatahi mō Papatūānuku workshop page for information on our past workshops to help you out. Please read through the competition page before you submit your video.

The deadline to submit your film is 15 March!

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