Journalist Claudette Hauiti founded production company Front of the Box in 1993. Specialising in Māori and Pasifika programming, their output included documentaries about the female experience of gangs, and Qantas Award-winner Children of the Revolution, which profiled the offspring of activist New Zealanders. Hauiti became a list MP for the National Party in May 2013, but resigned from politics the following July.
We often get letters from viewers saying they didn't think the programme would be their sort of thing, but they have been drawn into it and got hooked. I love to hear that. Claudette Hauiti, on the programme Eye to Eye
This edition in Prime’s television history series surveys Māori programming. Director Tainui Stephens pairs societal change (urbanisation, protest, cultural resurgence) with an increasing Māori presence in front of and behind the camera. Interviews with broadcasters are intercut with Māori screen content. The episode charts an evolution from Māori as exotic extras, via pioneering documentaries, drama and current affairs, to being an intrinsic part of Aotearoa’s screen landscape, with te reo used on national news, and Māori telling their own stories on Māori Television.
This documentary explores the 1970s/80s protest movement through six key activists and their children. Green MP Sue Bradford's daughter Katie protested with her mother at age six. Te Whenua Harawira, born during the 1978 Bastion Point occupation, led the 2004 Foreshore and Seabed hikoi. Also: Che Fu, son of Polynesian Panthers founder Tigilau Ness; Toi Iti, son of Tuhoe activist Tame Iti; and Joseph Minto, whose Dad John organised protests against the Springbok Tour. It won Best Māori Language Programme at the 2008 Qantas Film and TV Awards.
Tā Moko is a half hour documentary on Māori tattoo, including rare footage of internationally acclaimed Māori artist George Nuku getting a full-face moko via traditional tattooing techniques. The documentary follows the journey of Tā Moko from its use and status in traditional Māori culture, to its appropriation as gang insignia, and its revival as an expression of Māori identity and pride in the modern world. Directed by Kim Webby, Tā Moko screened on TVNZ, and was a finalist at the 2007 NZ Media Peace Awards.
Mana Wahine features five women leaders who have contributed to Māori social, political and economic development. They talk about the challenge and mantle of mana (power and influence) bestowed upon them. They are: Māori activist and lawyer Annette Sykes, community worker June Jackson (known by some as the "Queen of South Auckland"), chief negotiator for the Taranaki settlement Hekia Parata, kapa haka leader and performer Taini Morrison, and lawyer (and later district court judge) Denese Henare.
Teenage gang girl Tarnz speaks with brutal honesty about her extraordinary life in this documentary. From Maraenui, Napier, Tarnz formed her own girl gang in her teens, amassed 13 convictions and was imprisoned three times. Gang Girl - Tarnz Story was a finalist at the 2007 Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival in Canada. It was made alongside another girl gang documentary, Mob Daughters; both documentaries were produced by Front of the Box Productions and screened on TV2.
This documentary charts the journey of Auckland hip hop band Nesian Mystik, from their beginnings as an inner-city school band at Western Springs to gold albums and international acclaim. Filmed in New Zealand, London and Tonga the documentary explores the multi-cultural roots of the band members and the inspiration for their lyrics. Director Makerita Urale uses the Nesian Mystik story as a lens to reflect the wider picture of Māori, Pacific Island and Pakeha society in New Zealand.
Presented by Samoan hip hop artist King Kapisi and transgender rock queen Ramon Te Wake, Pasifika 2005 documents the biggest Polynesian festival in the world. Held in Auckland every year since 1992, the Pasifika Festival is a free event that celebrates Pacific Island culture, music, dance, food, arts and crafts and film. Held at Western Springs Park, and supported by Auckland City Council, Pasifika (as it's popularly known) attracts more than 140,000 people. Pasifika 2005 was screened on TV2.
Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. This 2005 Takatāpui Gay Xmas Special was hosted by the show's presenters Taane Mete, Tania Simon and Ramon Te Wake. It included guest performances from transgender MP Georgina Beyer, dancer Taiaroa Royal, designer and singer Linda E, the late Māori diva Mahinaarangi Tocker, Dee Za Star and many more. The show was produced by Front of the Box Productions for Māori Television.
Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. Produced by Front of the Box Productions and screening on Māori Television for six series, the show was magazine-styled with a Māori queer focus (it was replaced by the Wero series). It was light entertainment but not afraid to delve into some hard-hitting issues affecting the takatāpui communities all over New Zealand. Presenters included transgender singer Ramon Te Wake, Taurewa Biddle (with his distinctive moko) and Tania Simon.
Produced by Front of the Box Productions for Māori Television, Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. Despite being a magazine-style show, it wasn't afraid to delve into some of the tough issues affecting takatāpui communities in New Zealand. This second full-length episode includes interviews with members of the all women takatāpui waka ama team, and Adee Kiel, manager of hip-hop/R&B group Nesian Mystic.
Produced by Front of the Box Productions for Māori Television, Takatāpui was the world's first indigenous gay, lesbian and transgender series. Even though it was a magazine-style show, it wasn't afraid to delve into some of the tough issues affecting takatāpui communities in New Zealand. This first full-length episode looks at the early erosion of takatāpui by colonisation and includes a number of interviews with takatāpui, specifically Waikato University writer and lecturer, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku.
Gang Girls tells the story of seven women who have spent time in New Zealand’s most notorious gangs. The expose of gang women in Aotearoa features hard-hitting and emotional interviews. Winner of a Qantas Media Award for Best Documentary and nominated for three NZ Television Awards, it was produced by Claudette Hauiti's Front of the Box Productions. The company went on to to make two half-hour documentaries on teenage girl gangs: Gang Girl – Tarnz Story and Mob Daughters.
TVNZ publicity described Ngā Reo like this: “Each episode of Ngā Reo features the story of a Māori person or people and their unique kaupapa: the reason they have been put on this earth, their individual stories and also our national stories." The series soon widened its scope, with episodes on Rastafarianism, performances in Greece by Taki Rua theatre group, and the story behind Napier's Pania of the Reef statue. The episode on activist Syd Jackson won the 2003 NZ TV Award for Best Māori Programme.
The Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit held in Auckland 2001, was the biggest hip hop event ever staged in New Zealand. This documentary showcases the hottest names in the four elements of NZ hip hop: break dancers, graf artists, MCs and DJs. Featuring international acts from Germany and Australia, with Ken Swift representing old skool break dancing from New York and Tha Liks from Los Angeles. Local acts include Che Fu, Te Kupu, King Kapisi, P Money and DJ Sir-Vere. Presenters are Hayden Hare and Trent Helmbright.
Made in 2001, documentary Ōtara Market visits the biggest outdoor market in New Zealand, held every Saturday in the heart of South Auckland. Presented by Samoan writer and comedian Oscar Kightley (bro'Town, Sione's Wedding) the colourful documentary tells the stories of the multicultural Polynesian, Asian, Indian and Pākehā Kiwi stallholders at one of the country's best known community institutions. Lisa Taouma (website The Coconet) directs.
This four-part series explores New Zealand social history through rugby, from the first rugby club in 1870 to the 1995 World Cup. In this episode commentators muse on the roots of rugby in a settler society, in "a man's country". Rugby's unique connection with Māori, from Tom Ellison and the Natives’ tour to a Te Aute College haka, is explored; as well as the national identity-defining 1905 Originals’ tour, and the relationship between footy and the battlefield. As the Finlay Macdonald-penned narration reflects: “Maybe it's just a game, but it's the game of our lives”.