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Sub-Titled Summer of Love on Maori Television


Sub-Titled Summer of Love on Maori Television

Contemporary Maori love stories from the AROHA series relaunch on Maori Television this week with the inclusion of English language sub-titles (Mon Dec 5 at 9.30 PM).

AROHA is a beautifully filmed six-part series produced by Aroha Films around the theme of love. The six individual stories, acted out by a stable of well-known Maori actors, bring together a wide array of Maori writing, directing and acting talent per episode.

Maori Television launched the series in full reo Maori in July 2004 and is now screening the series with the inclusion of English language sub-titles over summer 2006.

In the premiere episode Te Ao Mahana (Mon Dec 5 at 9.30 PM), Lily Kahaka (Mere Boynton) is a beauty consultant who sends her obese son Tungane (Vince Ata) off to work with a well-stocked knapsack – which even includes his own portable oven.

Tungane, an obese 19-year-old known as Meat Pie because he eats so many of them for lunch, is teased mercilessly by friends and family. He works for Lily’s lover, Steam (Temuera Morrison), who is a retro-1950s garage owner complete with gold lame suit.

In public, Tungane is sad and shy. Privately, he has an active imagination which both disturbs and comforts him. He wants desperately to be different and keeps a record of his body measurements.

But every time he tries to eat his diet food, Lily tempts and cajoles him with fattening treats. Even when she prepares a huge feast for his birthday, she basks in praise from the guests for being such a good mother to a difficult son.

This episode shows a surreal insight into his dreams and visions as Tungane struggles to break free from his mother's smothering love.

Mere Boynton (Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Tuhoe) says Lily is a complex character: “She’s a mother but in a lot of ways she refuses to be a mother. She was like the princess of her tribe and an ex-beauty queen who is continually manicuring her exterior to portray an untouchable sort of goddess or Papatuanuku character, but inside she can be quite a deceitful person. Most people want a closeness with their loved ones but sometimes narcissism prevents them from doing that. Lily to me is that kind of person.”

Meanwhile 22-year-old Vince Ata (Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Te Whanau a Apanui, Ngati Porou) took up his first acting role when he played Tungane. He was ‘discovered’ while performing in Te Tira Hou kapa haka group by Te Ao Mahana director Puhi Rangiaho.

“I was thinking ‘he’s a person who has a deep understanding of the language, here is a person who has been huge all his life and has probably been called names, but he’s very assertive.’ And that’s what triggered it all.”

The first episode in the AROHA series, Te Ao Marama, relaunches with English language sub-titles from Monday December 5 at 9.30 PM.


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