Apr 15, 2021


Maori News & Indigenous Views

Short Story by June Parata wins White Lies Movie Prize

4 min read

Kia ora whanau


To celebrate the NZ launch of the film White Lies, we here at TangataWhenua.com held a Facebook

Short Story contest, with the first prize of 2x White Lies movie tickets being offered as prize.

The competition was only open for 4 hours yet we managed to attract 55 likes, 15 shares and 4 short stories.

Here is the winning Short Story from June Parata:

“I was the born in 1987, the youngest of our whanau and given to my koro as his whangai. I was also born blind and I learnt to use my other senses in the highest manner possible.

Koro was steeped in tikanga, kawa, hitori, whakapapa, moteatea, matauranga, and everyday i know that other young men would come and stay with us. From the moment i went to Koro, i heard and learnt everything i could from him and the other men. Although my days started and ended the same……4am rises, and sometimes midnight rests, Koro never left my side.

My koro had the softest voice you could ever imagine, but, i know all the other young men who came to visit would do exactly what he told them. He would always start our day with a karakia, and every morning he would say the same thing, look after my whangai, you are to give him the best of everything, treat him with respect, never ever hurt him, treat him, as if he was you.

I was only three when i became aware of all the korero and mahi going around me. Koro even told me then at that age, that i was the potiki of the whanau, and I had 4 older brothers. I never ever met them, but Koro would tell me that they had been, but they were not allowed to see me. I cried when i knew that, but i never ever questioned Koro. Time went on, and because of the nature I was brought up, i knew that many years passed, and nothing about my life changed. I had become very close to one of the other young men, as he was the one who spent all his time with me, and he was the one that Koro would speak to about what was to happen. He too had a soft voice like Koro but i could tell that he was knowledgeable as well. He too treated me with the highest of respect, always telling me what was going on, what clothes I was dressed in, who was near me, and what we were all going to do next.

One night, i noticed a change with everyone, and even noticed a smell that i was not accustomed to, and even heard an instrument i had never heard before. There was alot of laughing, and the singing was not the normal moteatea we could sing everyday, but it was somewhat faster. I became puzzled, and even slightly afraid. This went on for about 2-3hours, and then Koro asked everyone to leave.

He came to me and said “My precious mokopuna, i have some very important news, you have grown up into the best man i could possibly hope for, it is time for me to leave your side, and you must go on your life journey without me. There is nothing else left for me to teach you or to give you. You have everything. The time has come when your brothers and you will be a whanau again. Do not be afraid ever.”

He handed me something, that felt soft and beautiful, and told me to place it on my shoulders and to never take it off.

Then he left.

I sobbed like I had never before, and I felt and experienced lonliness and sadness like never before. I wished death upon me, and fell asleep wishing this. I know I had not been asleep long, and was awakened by noise and commotion i had never heard before. It seemed like there were 1000’s of voices and people around. At that point i did become afraid, and I longed to die, then the most amazing thing happened. I looked up, and there was sunlight beaming on my face, like i had never seen before, i looked out and could see 1000’s and 1000’s of people.

Then i heard my Koro’s voice and for the first time in my life i saw his loving caring face. He was looking at me with so much pride, and then I heard the voice of the young man i had become friends with. They were both looking at me with tears in their eyes. People were coming up to me and wailing, and hugging my Koro and the other man. I was still bewildered, then Koro said, “Anei ou tuakana Ihenga, kua tae ratou ki te noho i tou taha hei korowai mohou”.

Then i heard, “kua huakina te tatau o te whare tipuna a Ihenga, nau mai, kuhu mai ki ro whare. Kua tu te marae a Tangatarua. Nau mai tatou katoa!

na June Parata, 26 June 2013
Winner TangataWhenua.com Short Story, White Lies Competition

1 thought on “Short Story by June Parata wins White Lies Movie Prize

  1. Tino atahua tenei tuhinga. June Parata writes with heart and wairua. This story has a deepness in it with simplicity. I was so caught up in this story. As short as it is it tells a story of coming out into the light. Nga mihi nui.

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