Wellington agency Wrestler has worked with the New Zealand Police as their lead agency to produce and launch Puhikura – a candid documentary series championing the power of wāhine Māori through the gift of their stories as taonga.
With a shared compassion for people, the whenua, and the sustenance of communities, five wāhine reflect on what calls them forward and holds them back as they consider a career with the NZ Police. Celebrating women’s strength and influence, the series explores the unique motivations and obstacles experienced by Māori women who intend to become police officers.
Wāhine Māori comprise only 3.6 percent of the police, despite making up 8.4 percent of NZ population. To attract more wāhine Māori to join the force, Puhikura takes an honest look at what wāhine Māori want. What kind of change do they hope to make for their whānau and communities? How does this fit with the way their whānau and communities see the police?
Puhikura was created by and for wāhine Māori. Director Kath Akuhata-Brown brings each person’s experiences and perspectives into the light without shrinking from the realities of historical and ongoing strain between Māori and the police. Whānau insights and presence support each wahine’s reflection on their hopes, sense of purpose, and what comes next.
From inception to completion, the production of Puhikura embraced and followed kaupapa Māori, informed by tikanga and with the intent to elevate wāhine Māori through due respect and care for every person, and place, and for tirohanga Māori – Māori worldviews.
Kat Lintott, co-founder of Wrestler says: “As creative director of Puhikura, I didn’t want to dictate a fixed treatment from the outset. We proposed a kaupapa Māori approach to New Zealand Police so we could create a documentary series that protects, affirms, empowers, and authentically reflects everyone involved — including wāhine who shared their stories, NZ Police, creators, and the wider Māori community. I feel proud that this kaupapa has remained at the centre through the creation and sharing of this work.”
Wrestler worked closely with advisors and designed a participant consent journey to ensure that Puhikura held the stories shared as taonga. Wrestler partnered with Bastion Shine on the design, linework and use of colour throughout the series.
The wāhine of Puhikura shared their experiences and whakaaro as a way to help others into the future, and to contribute to healing, connection, and trust. It is hoped their stories can support all wāhine Māori interested in working in the police.
Puhikura was formally launched by Commissioner Andrew Coster at an event at Te Papa Tongarewa on Thursday 16 June, with guests including members of the Commissioner’s Māori Focus Forum, the Understanding Policing Delivery panel, and the five wāhine who have shared their stories.
Following on from the launch event, there will be a series of community events throughout the country where wahine, their whanau and friends can view the documentary and korero with our recruitment officers about becoming a police officer.
LEAD AGENCY: Wrestler
DIRECTOR: Kath Akuhata-Brown
PRODUCER: Verity Mackintosh
D.O.P: Brandon Te Moananui and Chris Mauger
B CAM / Assistant: Pikihuia Little
FIELD SOUND: Nicole Smith & Wendy Adams
SHOOT ASSISTANT: Te Awa Puna
PHOTOGRAPHER: Putaanga Waitoa
EDITOR: Lea McLean
EDIT ASSISTANT: Ben Cushman
COLOURIST: Tom van den Brink
AUDIO POST: Dylan Galletly / Wolf Horse
CAMPAIGN CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Kat Lintott
PRODUCERS: Kate Goodwin & Ashleigh Roworth
NZ POLICE CAMPAIGN LEADS: Helen Flannery & Paula Hill
NZ POLICE PARTNER ADVISORS: Prue Kapua & Rahui Papa
NZ POLICE ADVISORS: Inspector Juanita Timutimu (Whiti), Inspector Erin Sykes-Hurley, Inspector William Black & Vinesh Sima
EXTERNAL ADVISORS: Awatea Mita, Talia Ellison & Malcolm Mulholland
COPYWRITER: Nik Jarvie-Waldrom
PUBLICISTS: Delilah Pārore-Southon, Nick Stringer
PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER: Lauren Harrigan
CAMPAIGN DESIGNERS: Bastion Shine
CAMPAIGN ARTIST: Fern Ngatai
MEDIA: FCB Media