Ko Chelsea Winstanley he whaea ki Te Kōhanga Reo o Kākariki Marae ki te uru o Tāmaki Makaurau. Nōna te whakaaro ki te whakatū pō mātakitaiki pakiwaituhi hei kohi moni mō tētahi māra ako.

Ko “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” te pakiwaituhi ngā Taika Waititi. I waimarie te whānau ki tēnei kaupapa hei kohi moni, engari ko te mea tino miharo i tae atu ko ngā kaimahi whakaari katoa ki te whakanui.

Ko Takitimu te waka

Stacy Morisson, Chelsea Winstanley, Arana Komene, Scotty Morisson

Stacy Morisson, Chelsea Winstanley, Arana Komene, Scotty Morisson

Ko Mauao te Maunga

Ko Tauranga te Moana

No Ngāti Rangi me Ngāi te Rangi oku iwi

Ko Pirirakau te hapu

Ko Paparoa te marae

Ko Borell te whanau ingoa

Ko Chelsea Winstanley ahau.

My mum is Māori and my dad is Pakeha. My dad’s family is not that close so I was lucky to grow up around more of my mum’s whanau. She came from a family of 10 kids so I have heaps of cuzzies, uncles and aunties. Although we didn’t have the reo we had essential values like manaakitanga, wairuatanga and aroha drummed into us. My nan Kiritapu was a massive influence in my life, she always had an incredible mara kai, super funny, kind and gentle.

I remember one day when I was about 11yrs old and I told her I wanted to learn maori at school, she scoffed at me and said ‘what you want to learn that for’, she was a product of the generation that was beaten at school and it saddens me to know that she was denied her language. Before she recently passed she would hear me try and speak to my baby in the reo and she was so delighted, she was proud. It was a shame that it was not until her later life could she rejoice in being all things maori. So part of my motivation is for her and to ensure my children never grow up being denied of who they are. I think that starts with the language.

He Māori aku tamariki. But also because I didn’t grow up with the reo and I didn’t want my children to have that experience. We are very lucky to have the benefits of Kōhanga that our elders fought so hard for and we should not take that for granted. Not only is it a birthright to speak the reo but I think a given that we must participate in maintaining it’s survival.

Poster boy

The film fundraiser idea came from a similar fundraiser we had for a Kōhanga in Wellington a couple of years ago. Our daughter began her reo journey with Te Kohanga reo o nga Mokopuna in Whanganui a Tara when we were making the movie “What We Do In The Shadows”. Another beautiful Kohanga! It was super successful and it benefits both the film and the audience because you get a packed house watching and the audience gets a bonus because it normally means they get to meet the stars from the film.

Wilder-people-1

I asked the whānau at our monthly hui how they would feel if we held a film fundraiser for Taika’s new film Hunt For The Wilderpeople. We formed an ohu from the whanau to deal with the event and off we went. We worked with the producers of the film to secure the date and we chose a cinema to host the event.

Luckily we had Taika, due to his tight work schedule we secured the only Auckland Q&A session so it was a great draw card. We also had spot prizes of posters, swan dri’s and products to give away. The whānau ohu sought local sponsorship from business and the Kaiako made beautiful gifts of kete and mokopuna paintings for all the actors who turned up to help support on the day.

We are fundraising to build and a garden that is more of an outdoor classroom. We wanted the mokopuna to have a place where they could not only play but learn through exploration and participation. We want the outdoor space to reflect the world they live in so we want to include resources that are natural. For example using logs as a climbing apparatus, having mud and water play areas, creating edible gardens where the mokopuna learn about kai from growing seeds to eating the hua whenua.

It’s important to have a natural flow from the learning environment inside to the outdoor area. We are keen to let the mokopuna have access to it all year round so they are not cooped up inside all the time but you need to have activities that support this mission so the designer and landscaper together will make this a reality. We also want to include pūrakau from the local area of Waitakere.

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The outdoor classroom concept isn’t cheap by any means, it needed experts to look at the space and design what the whanau wanted within that. We have a “big plan” which will probably cost in the vicinity of 100K but we have broken it up into stages so we can pay for it as we go and the kids can start using it as it gets developed.

On the day it was wonderful! We had a sold out crowd and thanks to Taha Beverages everyone had a tasty drink as they sat down. They were also given a bag that had a reo resource booklet, some plunket items and a chance to win a spot prize. We were very fortunate to have a lot of cast turn up Sam Neil, Julian Dennison, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley, Rima te Wiata, and of course Taika Waititi. Taika introduced the film and at the end all the actors came out to have a Q&A session and give away prizes. The crowd loved it, the cast basically got mobbed and had to be ushered out the side exit.