Maori Sheilas making their mark!

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Maori women who are changing stereotypes and deciding their own place in the world is the focus of the Maori Television series I KNOW A SHEILA LIKE THAT returning for a second season.

In its second series starting on Tuesday 31 May at 8pm, I KNOW A SHEILA LIKE THAT takes an insightful look into the lives of Maori women who challenge the accepted roles of women in todays society.

The 13-part series takes viewers to the rugged west coast of the South Island to meet Ramari Stewart, and hear how her philosophies challenge the modern day thinking around whales their conservation, preservation and importance to Maori.

I can still remember as a young child harvesting meat from the stranded whales. We utilised everything. If the whale was fresh you took the meathe kai rangatira (food fit for a chief)theres resistance from the Department of Conservation to allow Maori to recover whale meat but thats an issue that needs strong debate, she says.

This seasons line up of inspirational wahine also includes a comedian and anti-violence advocate, two women who have found their passion in the fascinating world of burlesque, and a talented horse whisperer dedicated to helping abused and neglected horses.

In the premiere episode we head to Wellington to meet Parekotuku Moore (Ngati Raukawa, Ngai Te Rangi) by day the Kaihautu National Director of Maori Development Stopping Violence programme and by night a glamorous comedian.

She is dedicated to bringing light to the issue of domestic violence and in contrast is a committed comedian who believes the funniest people are the ones that can laugh at themselves.

They say you are what you eat well I must be the sexiest peanut slab out, she says.

Producer Lara Northcroft says the series is about empowering women to have the courage to go for their dreams no matter how big or unconventional it might seem.

Our emphasis is on careers outside the realm of what women would do, in particular what Maori women would do, says Ms Northcroft.

I KNOW A SHEILA LIKE THAT season two premieres on Tuesday 31 May at 8pm.

Episode 1-8 summaries and dates follow

For interviews, images or further information contact:

Marino Harker Smith
Kaiwhakaputa
Publicist
Maori Television
DDI +64 9 539 7092
Mobile +64 21 412 579
http://www.maoritelevision.com/

I KNOW A SHEILA LIKE THAT episodic summaries and screening dates:

Episode One: Parekotuku Moore (Ng?ti Raukawa, Ngai Te Rangi) Tuesday 31 May at 8pm

Parekotuku is a larger than life Maori wahine nestled in the big city lights of Wellington. By day Parekotuku is the Kaihautu National Director Maori Development-Stopping violence programme and by night a glamorous Comedian. Dedicated to the issue of domestic violence and bringing light to the kaupapa but in contrast, a committed comedian who believes that the funniest people are the ones that can laugh at themselves.

Episode Two: Hiria Minnell-Rolleston (Ng?ti Porou) Tuesday 7 June at 8pm

Hiria is a young mother passionate about educating Maori on the effects of smoking this is her legacy. Through the loss of loved ones and a battle against depression, Hiria is now an educated health advocate, business owner, Taekwondo champion and Stand up Paddle Board surfer and Instructor. Ive been brought up around a lot of hard stuff and if I can [overcome] it I know other people can do it as well, it takes you to make that decision to do it.

Episode Three: Vesna Aroha Radonich (Ng?ti Maniapoto) Tuesday 14 June at 8pm

Vesna is a waka ama starlet who is giving hope to young girls. Vesna was born with a hearing impairment and fought the battle of discrimination and ignorance to become a world champion in paddling and now she says her greatest achievement, is teaching a group of young Maori girls. When Im out on the water its just freedom, absolute freedom.

Episode Four: Burlesque Tuesday 21 June at 8pm

Catherine Prescott (Ngai Tahu) is a burlesque queen with two children who leaves the stage lights behind and takes her first steps towards connecting to her Maori side. In this industry people think you are easy, tarty and stupid Im not tarty, Im the opposite. Im a businesswoman who loves to dance. Actually if the truth be told Im a complete nana.

June Schuster-Barton (Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau, Ngati Awa) enjoyed scrap booking and sewing in her spare time until a friend introduced her to burlesque. This mother of two has enjoyed the confidence that has come with practicing this often risqu art form.

"When I tell people about burlesque they do get surprised... It's a boost to anyone and that's the fun of it... seeing the ladies move and seeing their expressions and their personas, I guess, a different side of them come out, and seeing what they are made of and who they are.

Episode Five: Nicki Cherrington Tuesday 28 June at 8pm

As far as 36-year-old Nicki Cherrington can remember shes saved animals. The slight woman from Ngati Hine/Ngati Whatua started with kittens when she was at school and now her life is dedicated to saving unwanted horses. Her passion for caring for these animals has turned into a small business that is gaining her a reputation as a talented horse whisperer. I prefer horses to people, I communicate better with horses.

Episode Six: Ramari Stewart (Ngati Awa) Tuesday 5 July at 8pm

Ramari Stewart is from the past her whakaaro, challenge modern day thinking particularly around whales and a wero is given to other Maori on our commitment to preserving the past. Ramari grew up at Ohope Beach near Whakatane and it was here during her childhood that she first became inspired and interested in whales. Ramaris father was a fencer and they lived off the land as well as the sea often eating whale meat from the whales stranded in the area.

Episode Seven: Karen Ritchie (Atihaunui-a-Paparangi) Tuesday 12 July at 8pm

Karen Ritchie is one of those rare people who have spent half of their lives fighting for those who live on the fringes of society, who have been ostracised by family and have no voice. Karen is the founder of the Cartier Bereavement Trust set up for people who die of HIV/AIDS related illness. This is a powerful story of one heterosexual womans acceptance into the Takataapui community. To this community she is simply known as Mother. "Sometimes I wonder if this is meant to be my journey... to be supportive of people who are facing terminal illnesses"

Episode Eight: Ora Barlow (Te Whanau-a-Apanui, Whakatohea, Ngati Porou) Tuesday 19 July at 8pm

In the long struggle for Maori rights, Maori women have always been at the forefront. Many mana wahine have dedicated their time and personal lives to supporting a kaupapa they believe in and Ora Barlow is one such woman. Not an activist by nature, Ora was driven to contribute to a cause very close to her heart when Brazillian oil company Petrobras was given a licence to drill for oil in her iwi waters. Ora asked herself what she could do and set forth to establish what was to become a key link in the fight to save Te Whanau a Apanui traditional fishing grounds from exploitation. Oras creativity is acknowledged as a new direction for the Maori rights movement.

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