Canterbury Police decided to go out of the station (and the District on one occasion) to obtain some assistance in putting together its social media contributions to Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori.
As Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori approached, Hirone wanted to build on the success of the use of Social Media during his time as Maori Responsiveness Manager in Eastern District. “Last year we had staff record messages, some with people in their communities.” This year the Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services (MPES) team in Canterbury wanted to go out into Canterbury and further afield to obtain footage that will be used to promote the week.
“We wanted our communities to get involved and participate and we also had the opportunity for a couple of celebrity cameos.
One venture in particular was a very special reunion for the District Manager of Maori, Pacific and Ethnic Services, Inspector Hirone Waretini.
“Many, many, many years ago, as an eleven year old, I was an aspiring actor,” Hirone says, “I got a child lead role in the Mercury Theatre production of The King and I.” At the time the Mercury Theatre was home to New Zealand’s finest theatre acting talent and its lead actor was George Henare. “George played the role of the King and I played his son, the Crown Prince. For three months or so, George was essentially my other dad.”
Hirone got to witness first hand the real mastery of acting that Mr Henare possessed. “It was a privilege to work with him and the other amazing actors. It’s not too great a bow to be drawn to say that if there was no George Henare there’d be no Temuera Morrison, Cliff Curtis or Taika Waititi. George is acknowledged as the pre-eminent Maori actor of our generation.”
As luck would have it in the lead up to Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, Mr Henare happened to be in Christchurch performing in the play, Educating Rita, at the Court Theatre. Hirone thought there was a tremendous opportunity to create a lasting relationship with the theatre, to obtain some footage to support the week and to re-connect after 33 years with Mr Henare. It appeared that the stars were aligned as Mr Henare was due to fly out the weekend after we got together for a stint in Sydney in the Disney play, “Aladdin.”
“This very small idea has achieved a lot already – having met with the theatre, there are some really exciting opportunities to connect the theatre to our Maori; Pacific and ethnic communities and vice versa and to discover potential avenues of employment and education for our young people. The arts are a great way for communities to express what’s important to them.”
“It just shows you how amazing NZ Police is that we can do this type of thing to benefit our organisation, our community and to give life to our value of Commitment to Maori and the Treaty.”
Canterbury Police will be posting video clips on Canterbury Police Facebook for Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori from 4 – 8 July.
Article supplied courtesy of Ten One, New Zealand Police’s magazine online.