Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Really excited to hear that award winning film maker Taika Waititi is working on a movie adaptation of Kiwi writer Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress. The film is called Hunt for the Wilderpeople and is about an uncle who takes his nephew to the Urewera forest so he won’t be fostered.

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I read that Taika has been wanting to do this film since before he made Boy. The cast includes Rima Te Wiata, Sam Neill, Rhys Darby, Oscar Kightley and Stan Walker. I really enjoy Stan’s acting, especially his performance in Mt Zion so it should be cool to see how he does in this film.

Stan

Apart from the cast and crew, one of the main reasons I’m excited about this film is because it’s based on the work of one of my all time favourite Kiwi authors. I first discovered Barry Crump’s writing when I was about 13. The book was called Hang on a Minute Mate. It was the first time I had read a book about every day working class Kiwis that reminded me of people that I knew, people like my Dad and his mates.

6 Hang on a Minute Mate

Barry Crump’s books made me want to be a writer. I began writing stories about the adventures that me and my brothers and our friends got up to growing up in Mangere. I sent the stories to Barry and he sent me back a hand written letter. I still remember excatly what he wrote to this day!

“Your stories might be good. I don’t know. Just send them out to people, that’s what I did. Barry”

5 Barry Crump

To be honest I didn’t think my stories were good but the fact that Barry Crump took time to write something encouraging to me inspired me to want to be a writer like him one day.

I wish Taika and the team all the best as they make this film and can’t wait to see it when it’s released in 2016!

You can read Taika’s thoughts about the film here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/film/69075250/Waititis-next-film-will-be-funny-and-fun

Samoan Heroes launched!

Friday 12th June was a special day as we launched my new book Samoan Heroes at Tupu Youth Library in Otara. It was such an inspiring evening, especially to see so many young people there. One of the guests wrote, “Where else would you see contemporary dance, an interview with a local NRL player, soulful sounds and Pacific delicacies while celebrating a work of literature!”

audience interview RW books sam team

Tell me where the reading’s at!

Check out this video by students and teachers at Arataki School in Mt Maunganui. It’s a re-make of Savage’s song “Freaks” to promote reading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX9o-YDaDY&feature=youtu.be

Here’s what Savage said about the idea: “Received a request from a teacher from Arataki School for permission to do their own version of “Freaks” to promote reading within the school for the younger students and I am supporting it 1000% and I’m sure Timmy Trumpet would support it too!! I take my hat off to teachers that go the extra mile to capture the attention of our young ones and make learning fun and using what’s popular to get the kids excited about education! To the staff at Arataki School keep up the good work!”

Mayhem & Miracles

It’s NZ Music Month and X Factor grand final time so this week I want to honour a Samoan hero who has achieved international success and broke a ceiling for Pacific hiphop. The artist? Demetrius Savelio, better known as Savage.

Get Wild 1

What I love the most about Savage’s story is how he overcame a tough beginning to find a dream and pursue it. We often come to know achievers in their best moments, and that can be intimidating. But when we have a chance to hear their life stories we discover that achievers are ordinary people, just like us. They face challenges like we all do … and they don’t always make the right choices. But one thing they do is persevere.

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You’ll be amazed to hear some of the things Savage has been through in his life, including homelessness, expulsion from school and trouble with the police. “Mayhem is my past, where I came from,” Savage explains, “and music, which changed my life, is the miracle … things I never thought I’d accomplish.”

I’m so glad that the book Samoan Heroes documents his and other achievers’ stories because they are truly inspirational.

In the Blue Corner …

It’s been a long time in the making … but the Samoan Heroes book is just a few weeks away from release. The books are on a ship coming from China, due to arrive late this month, just in time for Samoan Independence celebrations!

In anticipation, the next few posts will be some extracts from the book. First up – To’aletai David Tua.

Heavyweight boxer David Tua prepares for his next fight, against Friday Ahunanya. 25 March  2010 New Zealand Herald Photograph by Brett Phibbs NZH 27Mar10 - READY AND WAITING: Heavyweight boxer David Tua  is mentally and physically prepared for his clash with  Friday Ahunanya.   PICTURE /  BRETT PHIBBS WGC 17Jul10 - NAD 17Jul10 - HBT 17Jul10 - WTA 17Jul10 -  SUN 17Oct10 - SUPPORT: David Tua is staying  focused.   NZ HERALD HBT 09Aug11 - BUT WAIT, THERE'S ...  David Tua reckons he needs to  score points in case a knockout doesn't come.   PHOTO/FILE NAD 11Aug11 - REMATCH: Saturday will see David Tua again take on Monte Barrett, the only man to knock him down in his 57-fight professional career.ONE MORE WIN: Friday Ahunanya was outpointed by Tua last year.EARLY KNOCKOUT: Tua destroyed Shane Cameron inside two rounds in 2009.OUTCLASSED: Tua's sole shot at a world title ended in defeat against Lennox Lewis. RDP 11Aug11 - REMATCH: Saturday will see David Tua again take on Monte Barrett, the only man to knock him down in his 57-fight professional career.ONE MORE WIN: Friday Ahunanya was outpointed by Tua last year.EARLY KNOCKOUT: Tua destroyed Shane Cameron inside two rounds in 2009.OUTCLASSED: Tua's sole shot at a world title ended in defeat against Lennox Lewis. HBT 11Aug11 - REMATCH: Saturday will see David Tua again take on Monte Barrett, the only man to knock him down in his 57-fight professional career.  PHOTOS/FILEONE MORE WIN: Friday Ahunanya was outpointed by Tua last year.EARLY KNOCKOUT: Tua destroyed Shane Cameron inside two rounds in 2009.OUTCLASSED: Tua's sole shot at a world title ended in defeat against Lennox Lewis. OAM 12Aug11 - REMATCH: Saturday will see David Tua again take on Monte Barrett, the only man to knock him down in his 57-fight professional career.EARLY KNOCKOUT: Tua destroyed Shane Cameron inside two rounds in 2009. WGC 13Aug11 - REMATCH: Saturday will see David Tua again take on Monte Barrett, the only man to knock him down in his 57-fight pr

When David fought Lennox Lewis for the Heavyweight Championship, he faced an opponent with a similar style to Floyd Mayweather. Like Floyd, Lennox fought a defensive fight, keeping out of reach of David’s dangerous left hook.

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I think a lot of people underestimate David’s achievement. Many people believe the Heavyweight Boxing Title is the most prestigious title in sports and David was the first person of Polynesian heritage to reach that level.

David Tua lands a punch against Friday "The 13th" Ahunanya during their 12 round fight at The Trusts Stadium Arena, Auckland, New Zealand, Wednesday 31 March 2010. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/PHOTOSPORT

David’s father continued to watch replays of the fight months afterward. “Why do you keep watching that, Dad?” David would ask, a little embarrassed about the result. “Because we’re proud of you son,” his Dad would reply.

Lennox’s trainer, the legendary Emanuel Steward, later said, “That was the most scared Lennox has ever been before a fight. What David has accomplished when you consider his physical handicaps is phenomenal.” Emanuel should know – he’s trained some of the best boxers in history including Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and Wladimir Klitschko the current Heavyweight Champion.

Emmanuel-Steward-and-Thomas-Hearns

Capped

Reading Warrior:

Awesome Li’i :)

Originally posted on Aloalii Tapu:

I graduated! I loved bein with my closest friends, celebrating our success. I loved every second of dancing, training and performing with my class. I dedicated a little dance on stage, as I received my certificate, to my mum. My parents are warriors and haveworked incredibly hard to see their children succeed. Another Polynesian from Otara has been capped, God is good.

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Living passionately

Regular Season

Samoan hero Troy Polamalu retired from the NFL this week. I love what he said in an interview in 2010.

Reporter: “You play the game so violently, are you a violent person off the field too? Do you like violence?”

Troy : “No, I don’t like violence and I don’t like hitting the other players so hard. I try to live my life passionately whether I’m on a football field, or at home with my wife. Even if it was ballet I’d have the same approach to it.”

Here’s an ESPN tribute to Troy: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=12659234

Where the magic happens

where-the-magic-happens

Today I had to tell my year 9 tutor class that I won’t be their tutor teacher next term. It was pretty hard because we’ve built up a bond and just started to get to know each other. I’ve enjoyed working with these junior students, trying to share with them things they need to know to be successful at high school, trying to encourage them to believe in themselves and know they are special young people.

But for a while I’ve been feeling like I have to do something to get a personal dream moving faster. So as of today, I’m no longer going to be teaching fulltime, but part-time. It’s a big step for our family, almost a half cut in pay. But all these years I’ve been encouraging my students to be brave, take risks, get out of comfort zones. It’s time I did that. Going part-time will give me more time to write and get more books out. I don’t know if I will fail at this or do well enough to maybe make a living from it one day. I just know that I have to try, and it has to be now!

I’m proud of myself for taking a step out of a comfort zone, hoping some magic happens.

Wish you all the best with your dreams guys :)