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September 11, 2018 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Arotake Kiriata ‘PŌ’

Suicide is a huge epidemic within New Zealand. The fact that so many people, especially young rangatahi, are suffering from mental health in our own communities, highlights how great of an issue this really is. It is a topic that is rarely spoken about, and an issue that is rarely addressed by mainstream media here in Aotearoa. It is a huge epidemic here in Aotearoa. I believe it’s something that we need to discuss a lot more.

Last trimester, I pitched a film idea to my FILM311 class about potentially shooting a documentary that raises awareness for suicide and mental health – a very bold move on my behalf, but it was a risk I was willing to take. I titled the film (King and Parata, 2018) for two reasons. Firstly, “pō” can be translated to “night” or “darkness”, which can reflect the internal darkness those, who are struggling with mental health, face on day-to-day basis. Feeling trapped, alone and vulnerable. Secondly, “pō” in a more metaphorical term represents the underworld or the place of departed spirits. Thus giving the title a double meaning that reflects the tone and the theme of the film. Understanding that it was a sensitive topic to discuss, it was something I felt had to be done. Without no hesitation, four other students and I filmed, recorded, produced and edited the documentary over the course of six very emotional weeks. The film shared stories and experiences from four different interviewees who really opened up and took us on a journey through the encounters with suicide and mental health. As well as the emotions and feelings that they suffered from after losing a loved one. What really captures the audience and draws them in is the films’ harsh reality. That these are real people from our community telling real stories from their experience. Yes, it does put people in an uncomfortable position but that was my main objective from the get go. Being uncomfortable is the only barrier between us talking about it and sweeping it under the rug. Suicide is a huge epidemic here in Aotearoa. We need to talk about it. The Wait Is Over.

Ki a koutou mā kua riro ki te tatau o te pō, ki te korowai o Ranginui, ki tua o te aria, haere, haere, hoki wairua mai. E kore te aroha e mimiti.

Nāku noa,

Nā Nohorua Parata

Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Toa, Te Ātiawa

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