This 2015 Loading Docs short follows Tihei Harawira as he freestyle raps at Otara Markets. Diagnosed with autism and dyslexia as a child, Harawira didn’t ‘fit’ and was the victim of bullying. But an appreciative audience at the flea markets — where he busks ad hoc rhymes set to a beat box — have enabled Tihei to find his voice. ‘Tihei’ means “the breath of life”, a name he was given by an aunty after being resuscitated at birth. Tihei was directed by Hamish Bennett and produced by Orlando Stewart, the team behind 2014 NZ Film Festival award-winner Ross & Beth.
I first met Tihei back in Whangarei where we both lived. We didn’t know each other well, but I remember seeing him a fair bit on the sidelines at club rugby games. Other than that I didn’t know a lot about him – he was a friendly but unassuming guy. Then a few years ago, a mate sent through a video of Tihei busking up at Waitangi. He’d asked Tihei to rap about Hora Hora, our local rugby club. Tihei pressed play on his backing cd and started to freestyle. I was blown away.– Director Hamish Bennett
Music: Karl Steven and Native Tongue