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‘Keep It Lit’ For Ahikāroa 4 – On Māori Television And Māori+!

The long-awaited fourth season of the hit drama AHIKĀROA screens on Māori Television every Thursday at 9.30 PM - but diehard fans can ‘binge-watch’ the first 10 half-hour episodes on MĀORI+.

Loosely translated as ‘keep it lit’, AHIKĀROA is New Zealand’s first bilingual series for rangatahi.

Made by Kura Productions - a joint venture between Quinton Hita and South Pacific Pictures - the drama is a graphic snapshot of the modern day trials of a group of young, city Maori and their manic lifestyles.

Auckland born and bred Geo and Hemi are young kura kaupapa graduates whose world revolves around getting cash, cutting corners and charging their phones.

Meet the cast of the fourth series of AHIKĀROA:

· GEO: Turia Schmidt-Peke (Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Haua, Hamoa)

Turia Schmidt-Peke opitimises the AHIKĀROA kaupapa, a series that showcases the stories of kura kaupapa-raised urban rangatahi. When asked where she learnt Maori, she replied: “Ko te patai e tika ana, i ako ahau i taku reo Pakeha i hea? Ko te reo Maori ke taku reo tuatahi.” Māori is her first language so the right question is where she learnt English! A graduate of Waikato University’s Bachelors of Communications and Arts, Turia is also a kaiwhakarite for children’s television show, PŪKANA.

· HEMI: Nepia Takuira-Mita (Te Arawa, Hāmoa)

Nepia Takuira-Mita is no stranger to the performing arts. Hailing from Rotorua, Nepia can be found taking part in traditional haka performances throughout his hometown. His passion for kapa haka encouraged him to take a leap into the world of acting. Impressing audiences on stage and upsetting viewers on screen, his AHIKĀROA character Hemi is one they love to hate.

· CHANTELLE: Awhimai Fraser (Ngāti Mahanga Hourua, Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngai Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Whāwhākia, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Te Ipu)

A musical theatre graduate, Awhimai Fraser has graced many stages wooing audiences with her beautiful singing voice. After performing in shows and musicals, Awhimai felt the desire to ‘try something new’ so she gave screen acting a go and loved it. The character of Chantelle is an original cast member of the first season of AHIKĀROA.

· TIPENE: Tukairangi Maxwell (Ngāti Hau, Te Waiariki, Ngāpuhi Taniwha Rau)

Hailing from Te Taitokerau, Tukairangi Maxwell didn’t plan for a life on screen. A business and marketing graduate, Tukairangi credits his desire to take on the acting profession after watching ‘Māori greats’ like Cliff Curtis whose Hollywood success is an inspirational feat. With a name that means to ‘shoot for the stars’, it’s no wonder that his acting career is heading in the same direction.

· HAKI: Paetawhiti Tumai (Ngāi Tūhoe, Tainui, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)

Originally studying as an electrical engineer, Paetawhiti Tumai - or Whiti for short - found himself auditioning for AHIKAROA in series 2 and is now following through into the fourth season. Paetawhiti, meaning to ‘arise like the sun and shine out’, is humble about his classification as an actor. A student of the craft, he says acting allows him to experience challenging scenarios that in turn develop him as a person.

· KID: Aniwawhaiapu Koloamatangi (Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri, Waihoki no Waikato, Tainui)

Before you jump to conclusions that Aniwa is short for Aniwaniwa, take a lesson from Aniwa’s Nan. She knows Aniwa to be the name for the halo above an angel’s head and her mokopuna embodies this energy no less! Straight out of kura kaupapa and on to the television screen, Aniwawhaiapu Koloamatangi is a naturally gifted performer who has quickly become a fan favourite as the beloved character of Kid.

· WHATUKURA: Kauri Williams (Kahungunu, Tuwharetoa, Whiti, Hāmoa)

Kauri Williams arrived on the AHIKAROA doorstep as soon as he graduated with an acting degree from Unitec. As well as a love for storytelling, Kauri says he also loves the journey, the struggle and the outcomes - both good and bad. Named for the attributes that embody the ancient kauri tree, he is bound to bring the mana of this ancestry to his character Whatukura.

· TE URURANGI: Akinehi Munroe (Te Aupouri)

You might recognise Akinehi Munroe from the theatre stage. Aki began her career in the role of ‘Annie’ and was working on a children’s theatre show, ‘Tu Meke Tuī’, prior to AHIKAROA. She has always been creative, active and a touch dramatic so acting as a career was a natural choice. Making her debut in the character of Te Ururangi this season, she has been challenged with digging into te taha wairua - the Maori spiritual world.

· DYLAN: Isabella Rakete (Ngapuhi)

Isabella Rakete was pushed into acting classes growing up to bring her out of her shell. Bella cut her teeth as an actress on AHIKAROA and what better way to help her confidence grow than to play a character like the vivacious and confident Dylan. Working on the show has also helped her learn a lot more reo Maori. Her creativity isn’t limited to being in front of the camera: Bella is completing her final year at Elam School of Fine Arts.

· THOMAS: Mauri Oho Stokes (Ngāti Porou)

Mauri Oho Stokes is no stranger to the small screen having already appeared in the long-running soap, Shortland Street. Mauri Oho grew up in kura kaupapa, did some study at Penn State University and is a golf instructor. With so much life experience already under his belt, he lives up to his name which translates as ‘awaken to life’.

AHIKĀROA screens on Māori Television every Thursday at 9.30 PM and is available to view on demand on the website and the MĀORI+ app.

© Scoop Media

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