Full reo Māori drama hits the screen

By Stefan Dimitrof

History was made when the first, 100 per cent reo Māori action, scripted children's drama dropped on our own digital platform, Māori Plus last week.

Te Pāmu Kūmara, funded by Te Māngai Pāho, premiered last Friday, on our app Māori plus, and is centred on 12-year-old Owaiera Tawera who plays 'Tai' and, along with her superhuman whānau, runs a local vegetable shop from their kūmara farm, and work to protect their whenua from people wanting to sell it.

Director and script supervisor, Awanui Simich-Pene (Nō Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Maniapoto) said the creation of this kaupapa was through the journey of her daughter spending time with her koro in the garden.

“So for a long time I wanted to explore that story.”

Simich-Pene said that they had brought together all of their backgrounds "and we brought that to the table to bring the world of Te Pāmu Kūmara to life”.

Simich-Pene said she felt that it was her responsibility to make sure to look after the craft of storytelling.

She said they were fortunate with their cast, saying, “They were wonderful”.