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Mokopuna-Our Daughters-Our Sons-Our Future

Mokopuna-Our Daughters-Our Sons-Our Future

Underway at the new Lower North Youth Justice Residential Centre in Mohaka Place, Palmerston North, is a ten-week Theatre Therapy Programme.

The programme began on January 10th as a partnership between National Maori Community and Theatre in Education Company, Te Rakau Hua O Te Wao Tapu, led by renowned actor and director Jim Moriarty, and the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.

One of the outcomes of the programme will be a public performance presentation for 2 weeks from March 9th - March 25th in the gymnasium of the residential centre, which is run by Child, Youth and Family.

Highly acclaimed for his work with women inmates, at both Christchurch and Arohata Prisons, (Watea & Kia Maumahara), and fresh from a similar programme at the department's Kingslea Residential Centre in Christchurch (Christmas Wish), Moriarty acknowledges that dealing with the adolescents turning out to the centre gymnasium for gruelling 10 hour day workouts, has been totally different to working with the female clients he has coached, coaxed and cajoled at Arohata and Christchurch.

"Emotionally we are dealing with people who can go from Mt Everest to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, sometimes in ten minutes. These young people are incredible survivors, given what some of them have experienced in their lives up to now." Moriarty says.

Through the process of drama, dance, song, story-telling, addiction awareness, and group therapies, wrapped up in enormous amounts of Tikanga Maori and lots of unconditional love with bottom lines, Moriarty and his troupe hope that the young people involved will begin the journey of awakening and start to make sense of the chaos that has been a part of their lives, inevitably leading them to this point.

"The following statements from two young people currently at the centre highlights the pain, disillusionment and suffering many young people experience today," said Moriarty.

"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."

Moriarty promises an evening at the theatre, one that you will be unlikely to forget for sometime.

Richard Wilcox, Practice Consultant for the Lower North Youth Justice Residential Centre says: "The programme will give the young people a greater range of positive options that will help them make more informed decisions for themselves when they return to their respective communities."

They demonstrate a remarkable ability to laugh at weaknesses and past behaviours; now viewed with a new insightful maturity. There is 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 Review from Kingslea Residential Centre Production: Christchurch Press Performance dates / times are as follows:

9th - 11th March 7.00pm

13th - 17th March 9.00am and 1.30pm

19th March 2.00pm

20th - 25th 7.00

Bookings for the evening performances, and the Sunday 19th matinee can be made through Ticketek. Phone: 06-358-1186

Bookings for the matinees 13th - 17th March can be made by contacting, Damian Wilson on (06) 350-2179 or Jim Moriarty on (025) 439 250

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