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Sustainability and Sustenance on Maori Television


Sustainability and Sustenance on Maori Television

Looking after the land so that one is looked after in return is the prime concept of Maori Television’s new gardening programme KIWI MARA – launching this Sunday July 17 at 5.30 PM.

Based on sustainability and aiming to revitalise traditional knowledge about the land, KIWI MARA offers advice on practical everyday gardening while recognising the link between ancestral and contemporary gardening practices.

KIW MARA is presented by television newcomer Haimona Smale – a non-Maori who is a landscape architect with the Department of Conservation in Rotorua. Interestingly, Smale is fluent in te reo Maori from working with the department’s Maori liaison officers and now works with Maori in the area of conservation.

“They changed my world view and made it possible for me to look through windows that I never even knew existed. For me, the exciting thing about KIWI MARA is that it helps keep traditional knowledge that is on the brink of disappearing. It also re-affirms the place of iwi as tangata tuatahi (first peoples) in our nation’s relationship with the land,” he says.

It was while he was sitting on the Bay of Plenty Conservation Board that he met traditional Maori medicine Robert McGowan, who presents the Rongoa segment on the series. Robert – also a non-Maori – first learned his understanding of Rongoa when he was a Marist priest in the Wanganui area.

“What attracted me to Rongoa in the beginning, was the whole wairua behind the Maori understanding of health. It is so different from the purely physical approach of Western Medicine,” he says.

The series is produced by White Gloves Television for Maori Television and directed by Hira Henderson (Marae, Waka Huia, Radio with Pictures, Pukana). “One of the earliest programmes I ever worked on was Dig This, so it’s amazing to find myself making a gardening show after all these years. Of course, this programme is completely different and it is deeply satisfying to make a programme about the land that comes from a Maori kaupapa,” she says.

Episode one introduces the series and then takes a leap into the summits by helicopter for a bird’s eye view of the Waitakere Ranges. It also introduces the concept of permaculture by visiting the premiere permaculture farm in Australasia. The Rongoa segment begins with Robert McGowan, who provides an understanding of the wairua that underpins Rongoa. Programme one ends with the preparation of the plan for the programme’s four-acre demonstration block – to be developed further in the series.

KIWI MARA premieres on Maori Television this Sunday July 17 at 5.30 PM.



Year 2005
Censor Not rated
Duration 24-part, half-hour series
Language Maori and English languages

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