Young woman uses video game to champion Māori goddess of death - Hine-nui-te-pō

Art student Kahurangiariki Smith wants to shed new light on Hine-nui-te-pō - or the goddess of death - with the guidance of an arcade game joystick.

The 20-year-old has created an arcade game installation, Māori Grl, which was previously on display at the Depot Art Space in Auckland.

The video-game is based on Hine-nui-te-pō and mixes 2D artwork and Māori mythology into a classic arcade game.

Ms Smith was inspired by her mum Aroha Yates Smith's PHD on rediscovering the feminine in Māori spirituality, which included child-birth in traditional times.

Hine-nui-te-pō, the goddess of death, plays an important role in the game.

"Hine-nui-te-pō has often been only really recognised as the one that killed Māui within her," Ms Smith said.

"I've seen picture books and she is described or shown as this big ugly old evil lady - but actually she had her own story, she had her own reasons."

In Māori mythology, the demi-god Māui tried to kill Hine-nui-te-pō and overcome death by entering her body and climbing to her mouth.

But the tīwaiwaka laughed at him and awoke her - she closed her legs and crushed Māui to death.

Kahurangiariki made the game over a year as part of an art project, and with a limited background in gaming and programming she found the process tough.

"I just wanted to bring back this knowledge about atua wāhine like Hine-nui-te-pō - her in particular because she's been kind of demonised over the years.

"I'd love to expand on this story and expand more on mum's thesis and the atua wāhine she mentions there.

Aroha said she was not surprised her daughter had explored atua wāhine in her artwork.

"Kahu was born the middle of all my study so I think she grew up within my womb, within the kōpu o tāku tinana when I wrote and researched these topic."

And Ms Smith said she knew how lucky she was to have grow up surrounded by this sort of knowledge.

"I know that a lot of people even in mum's generation weren't able to grow up with that - they weren't even able to grow up with te reo."

Ms Smith said her father was a carpenter and would be proud of the wharenui his grandaughter built to house the game in.

"He would've been so proud to see his mokopuna, a girl, constructing and designing a whare."

The game is accessible to all ages and is simple, something Aroha said she appreciated.

"The most exciting thing was to see my eldest son at 30 years old lying down on the whāriki (floor) and giggling and playing a video game that his younger sister has created."

The Te Ao Māori education comes through a simple game called Māori Grl. Source: Seven Sharp



One person dead after tractor rolls on farm in Taranaki

One person has died after a tractor he was riding rolled on a Taranaki farm last night.

The incident occurred in Midhurst at around 10pm.

There were no other vehicles involved.

WorkSafe will investigate.  

The incident took place near Stratford, and police are investigating. Source: Breakfast

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Wellington dairy owners want tobacco price rises to stop

Wellington dairy owners say annual price hikes on cigarettes are making things scary for them and they must be stopped.

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters said yesterday the ongoing price increases are leading to people being "murdered and assaulted in our dairies."

He said today the Government was going to look into tobacco pricing, and that the previous government's goal to be smokefree by 2025 was "National Party bulldust".

"What we are going to do, because we are an intelligent government, is have a review and listen to its findings."

The excise duty on cigarettes has increased by about 10 percent every year since 2010, with average price of a pack of twenty cigarettes now about $30.

RNZ spoke to dairy owners and workers in Wellington's southern suburbs, and all said they want tobacco price increases to stop.

Subethini Antanyraj owns Vaasana Traders in Newtown. She said in the past two months there's been four incidents where people have asked for smokes, and then snatched them from her shop counter and bolted.

"We can't stop selling the cigarettes, if we stop the cigarettes [there's] no point in having a dairy. All the people are coming for the cigarette and some other side things.

"But at the same time we have to look after [ourselves] ... [it's] getting very scary."

Ms Antanyraj said she complained to the police each time but nothing came from it. She now refuses to work by herself in the evening, and waits until people have paid before handing over cigarettes.

Choc Fizz dairy owner Gagandeep Brar said the price increases were putting people under more financial pressure, and could lead to them making the rash decision to snatch some smokes.

"Because it's much easier to grab it rather than paying for it."

Mr Brar said people were still going to smoke - despite the prices rises.

"Because people [are] gonna definitely do dodgy things if they can't afford it."

Jaswinder Singh from Payless Mini Mart said his job feels more dangerous since the prices started going up.

He and the other dairy owners said the price hikes are too much for people and they needed to stop.

Cigarettes will now be sold in brown packets, but will still feature a health warning.
Source: Breakfast