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New Local Documentary It Takes A Kāinga Sheds Light On The Maternal Health Crisis For Māori Mothers In Aotearoa

Available now on YouTube, It Takes a Kāinga is a poignant short documentary which explores the alarming mental health disparities faced by Māori māmā in Aotearoa.

Under the sensitive and insightful lens of director and māmā Taylor Hohepa (Te Arawa, Ngaati Korokii Kahukura, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu), the short film offers an intimate look into motherhood, mental health and the resilience and struggles of wāhine navigating their maternity journey in a system borne out of colonialism.

With devastating statistics showing that Māori mothers are 3.35 times more likely to die during pregnancy due to suicide. It Takes a Kāinga brings critical issues to the forefront and aims to inspire meaningful social and systematic change through amplifying Māori voices and hapūtanga expertise.

The heart of this documentary is rooted in the inspiring story of award-winning musician and Māori māmā Ria Hall (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Te Whānau ā Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Waikato) and other wāhine Māori who have faced physical and mental health challenges in their journey throughout motherhood. The short film which dropped yesterday with an exclusive preview on Ria Hall’s personal Instagram account, garnered over 356,000 views in the first 24 hours.

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Through first-hand accounts from leading Māori health and hapūtanga professionals including Aroha Healion (Ngāti Mutunga, Te Ātiawa, Tarana ki, Ngāruahine), Tawera Trinder (Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Mutunga, Taranaki, Ngāti Ruanui) and Aroha Harris-Tutaki (Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi), It Takes A Kāinga offers valuable insights into empowering Māori-led healthcare solutions.

The film also turns to experts including author and indigenous human rights advocate Tina Ngata (Ngāti Porou), and traditional healer and birther Awhitia Mihaere (Ngāti Kahungunu) as it touches on various aspects of the health sector, the effects of colonisation, and the themes of Māori identity, wāhine empowerment, and reclamation.

Director Taylor Hohepa, says: “We are hoping to spread the message of this kaupapa through Ria’s inspiring story. We made the choice to release the documentary digitally and amplify the documentary through Ria’s social media, friends and whānau connections to reach as many people as possible. While this documentary has a strong Māori lens - it is for everybody, and I believe positive change begins with collective understanding.”

It Takes a Kāinga is not just a film - it’s a movement. Via a social media campaign, Ria Hall has Kiwis to share their own support networks on TikTok or Instagram using the hashtag #ItTakesAKainga to highlight the vital support roles needed by women during pregnancy and parenting - from their “ride or die” to “the comedian” within their kainga (community).

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