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Purotu -The Magic Within

Joint media release by Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu and
the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services,
in conjunction with Puukaki-Ki – Te Aakitai

Maori theatre company Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu, and Child, Youth and Family, in conjunction with Puukaki-Ki – Te Aakitai, are combining to provide a twelve-week Theatre Therapy Programme at Manurewa’s Northern Residential Centre for at-risk children and young people.

The title of the programme is Purotu - The Magic Within. A public show will be performed at the end of the 12-week programme, which began a fortnight ago.

Te Rakau’s director Jim Moriarty says the title encapsulates one of the programme’s key concepts: “Through a process of hard work and therapy, culminating in a play which tells their stories, we hope to harness the residents’ inner magic to help them address their offending behaviour and their various problems. Within each of us there is a powerful spiritual reservoir of magic that, if tapped, has the power to help us over come the most difficult of circumstances.”

Purotu – The Magic Within is the third such programme to be undertaken in a Child, Youth and Family residence. It follows the highly successful shows at Kingslea in Christchurch (Xmas Wish) and the Lower North Youth Justice Centre in Palmerston North (Mokopuna).

“They demonstrate a remarkable ability to laugh at weaknesses and past behaviours; now viewed with a new insightful maturity. There is some real talent in the young performers who have seen the process through. The stories they tell are theirs. They share their pasts and, even more remarkably, their cultures.”
The Press on Xmas Wish

Jim Moriarty says the programmes in Christchurch and Palmerston North have had some real successes in helping children and young people turn their lives around, including stopping offending.

“So both the kids and the community benefit from the work we and the department are doing.”

Besides therapy, the programme involves drama, dance, song, story telling and addiction awareness, all wrapped up in enormous amounts of tikanga Maori. But the programmes are certainly no holiday, with participants having to make a significant commitment in terms of time and physical and mental effort.

“These kids want to get away from the madness that has blighted their lives but often they don’t have any idea how to do this. We try to give them information and skills to get the ball rolling. I’ve been impressed with how hard they’re prepared to work to escape the pains they have felt.”

Jim Moriarty says the following statements highlight the background of pain, disillusionment and suffering felt by many of the children and young people in the department’s residence:

”The first time I felt unsafe was when my dad gave my mum the bash, and I was right in front of them with my older sister and younger bro. Watching my dad give my mum a hiding, blood coming out of her head and nose, blood all over the deep freeze and the bench. I was only five years old at the time, and my dad made me clean the blood up.”

 “It’s too bad you didn’t have the life of your dreams. You needed a hug and a kiss not a slap. But enjoy what you have in the meantime, things will hopefully get better.”

Child, Youth and Family’s project manager at the Northern Residential Centre, David McCarthy, says the programme provides a solid and safe platform for children and young people to participate in a journey of discovery about themselves and their own “magic within.”

“They get the chance to understand why and how they operate in their private and public worlds. This will help them make more productive and positive decisions about their lives and the contribution they have to make within their whanau, aiga, hapu, iwi and wider community.”

“We’re only two weeks into the programme so far but the results in terms of learning and the attitudes of the children and young people has been outstanding.”

Purotu – The Magic Within will be performed in the centre’s gymnasium from November 23 to December 10. This will be followed by a week-long performance at the New Zealand Drama School, Toi Whakaari, in Wellington from December 14 – 20.

NRC performance dates / times are as follows:
23 – 25 November 7.00pm
26 November 2.00pm
3 & 10 December 2.00pm
28 Nov – 2 Dec. 7.00pm
4 – 9 December 7.00pm

Bookings for all performances can be made through Ticketek. PH: (09) 307 5000
Bookings can also be made through Te Rakau Hua. PH/FAX: (09) 269-7412
E-MAIL: purotumagic@xtra.co.nz

For further information please contact:
Damian Wilson, Publicist – Production Manager (09) 269-7413 or 025-422648
Jim Moriarty, Director (09) 269-7413
David McCarthy, Project Co-ordinator for Northern Residential Centre
Ph: (09) 917-5436 or 029 626-651

Released via Mediacom
MD2711-803/jlc/eml
24 October 2000
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