Actor Rawiri Paratene reflects on how the industry has changed for Māori over his almost 50-year career

Acting great Rawiri Paratene has reflected how the landscape has changed for Māori and Pacific actors over his long career as he prepares to front a bi-lingual kids’ stage show that will tell Māori myths as well as fairy tales like The Ugly Duckling.

Mr Paratene said when he started in the industry almost 50 years ago there was four Māori actors.

“When I started a long time ago, almost 50 years ago now, there was really no industry let alone a Māori segment of that industry,” he told TVNZ1’s Breakfast.

“There were very few Māori women, the Māori men that I can remember at that time were George Henare, Don Selwyn, Jim Moriarty and me and I was young.”

In the almost half a century since, the industry has exploded with Māori actors and directors now global stars.

“The industry has just gone crazy and now Māori and Pasifika actors have more of an opportunity to make it big on the world stage than any others,” he said.

“That’s proven time and again by the people that do, Taika (Waititi), Cliff (Curtis) and so on.”

After starring in acclaimed films like Footrot Flats and Whale Rider, Mr Paratene has enjoyed a stage career that has taken him around the world.

He was the only Kiwi actor among an international cast who travelled to 196 countries with The Globe Theatre to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and also led a Te Reo Māori version of the play, Troilus and Cressida.

Mr Paratene explained that his new show, Kōrero Pūrākau – Māori Storytelling, which starts next week at the PumpHouse Theatre is more than just Māori myths and legends.

“It’s not just Māori stories, the program I’ve called tale feathers, as in tale, see what I did there,” Mr Paratene said.

“I’m including in that the story of The Ugly Duckling, The Goose That Lay the Golden Egg, The Little Nightingale, a story I wrote, The Tui and The Sparrow and a traditional story, The Battle of the Birds, about the sea birds and the land birds.”

Mr Paratene said he loved stories from across the South Pacific and not just Māori stories and he felt obligated to tell them.

“I love our own stories, not just Māori kaupapa, but stories from the Pacific as well,” he said.

“An obligation (to tell them) because I’m Māori, an obligation because they’re damn good yarns, an obligation because the audiences enjoy them.”

School groups can see the show at the PumpHouse Theatre during visits next week while there are tickets available for public shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The star of Whale Rider has reflected on the changes for Māori actors over his almost 50 years in the industry as he prepares to front a new bi-lingual stage show for kids. Source: Breakfast



Auckland woman admits pimping out 14-year-old girl for sex

A 19-year-old woman has admitted pimping out a 14-year-old, accepting money from the client, and driving the girl to and from hotels around downtown Auckland.

Monoka Kelly appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning where she pleaded guilty to a representative charge of sexually exploiting a 14-year-old girl.

Kelly's charge covers four occasions in March and April last year.

According to the summary of facts, she set up a profile for the 14-year-old on a smartphone app used by prostitutes.

The 19-year-old solo mother took the girl to the hotels and then received payment from the client by way of internet bank transfers.

Some of the money went to the 14-year-old.

Kelly was due to go on trial next week but this morning's guilty plea means the trial is not necessary.

Justice Downs remanded her on bail but said there was every prospect she would face a lengthy prison term when she appeared for sentence in November.

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Justice Source: 1 NEWS

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Suge Knight, once one of gangsta rap's biggest moguls, agrees to 28-year sentence after murder charge reduced

Former rap mogul Marion "Suge" Knight pleaded no contest today in a US courtroom to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.

The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.

Knight was charged with murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run after fleeing the scene of an altercation in January 2015 outside a Compton burger stand. Knight and Cle "Bone" Sloan, a consultant on the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton were involved in a fistfight that ended with Knight clipping the man with his pickup truck and running over businessman Terry Carter, who died from his injuries.

Knight's attorneys have said he was acting in self-defence and was fleeing armed attackers when he ran over Mr Carter and Mr Sloan.

During today's hearing, Knight answered Judge Ronald Coen's questions, loudly and quickly saying "no contest" when the judge asked for his plea.

The plea deal calls for Knight to serve 22 years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter count, and another six years because it is a third strike violation.

Former music mogul and founder of Death Row Records Suge Knight

Knight, 53, was a key player in the gangster rap scene that flourished in the 1990s, and his label once listed Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg among its artists. Knight lost control of the company after it was forced into bankruptcy.

He has prior felony convictions for armed robbery and assault with a gun. He pleaded no contest in 1995 and was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting two rap entertainers at a Hollywood recording studio in 1992.

He was sentenced in February 1997 to prison for violating terms of that probation by taking part in a fight at a Las Vegas hotel hours before Shakur was fatally wounded in a drive-by attack as he rode in Knight's car just east of the Las Vegas Strip. Shakur's slaying remains unsolved.

He had faced life in prison if convicted of murder for killing Mr Carter.

FILE - In this July 7, 2015, file photo,  Knight has pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and after he ran over two men, killing one, nearly four years ago.
The Death Row Records co-founder entered the plea Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court and has agreed to serve 28 years in prison.  (Patrick T. Fallon/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight sits for a hearing in his murder case in Superior Court in Los Angeles in 2015. Source: Associated Press

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Young NZ fur seal found with fishing line round neck is treated at Auckland Zoo

A young New Zealand fur seal is being treated for infection at Auckland Zoo after being found slumped on a rock ledge at Piha with discarded fishing line around its neck.

A young woman had spotted the injured seal and Department of Conservation rangers responded, DOC ranger Gabrielle Goodin told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

"Literally when we got out there I saw the seal and it was over this little rock ledge and I thought it was dead," Ms Goodin said.

Auckland Zoo vet Lydia Uddstrom said the fishing line has no give, so as the seal grows with it around the neck, the line cuts deeper and deeper.

"It's not a simple matter of cut the nylon off and just chuck him back out and good luck to you. It's really that follow up and making sure that we can control any infection," Ms Uddstrom said.

The vets work in silence, trying to keep the young seal as calm as possible while treating it at the zoo.

The case is a reminder of how a little piece of human waste can cause such pain to an innocent victim.

Fur seals are a conservation success story, with their numbers up.

But so is human interaction with them.

"We have a high population in Auckland, so it's managing that success. How can we make sure we still see a lot of seals, people are interacting with them properly and we can keep them from being injured from things like fishing lines," Ms Goodin said. 

Things are looking good for the young fur seal which has been showing improvement.

"We are hopeful that if we can get on top of this infection and everything else that's going on, he should be able to get out there where he belongs," Ms Uddstrom said.

Seven Sharp’s Lucas de Jong visited the mammal at the zoo. Source: Seven Sharp


Watch: Can you help? Black car takes off from West Auckland suburb after driver tries to grab woman

Police have released footage in the hopes it will help them find a man who grab a woman in West Auckland while she was walking down a street at night last week.

Detective Elizabeth Willis says the victim was walking towards Riversdale Road in Avondale on September 11 when she was followed by a man driving a black sedan between 8pm and 9:30pm.

The man, described as being possibly Māori or Pacific Island descent, in his 30s and around 175cm tall, yelled out to the victim before proceeding to park his car on Riversdale Road.

As the woman walked past, the suspect got out of his vehicle and grabbed her from behind but the victim managed to escape and hide until the man left the scene.

"This was a particularly frightening experience for the victim and we are very keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or seen other suspicious behaviour in the area," Detective Willis said.

"If you have seen a vehicle or person matching this description behaving suspiciously, please call us immediately, even the smallest piece of information may prove valuable to help ensure this man is held to account for his actions."

People with information can contact Detective Willis from Avondale Police on (09) 820 5776 or anonymously provide information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.