For over a year, we worked in close partnership with the New Zealand Police 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% of the police, despite making up 8.4% of NZ population. To help 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. 

We worked closely with advisors and designed a participant consent journey to ensure that Puhikura held the stories shared as taonga. We partnered with Bastion Shine on the design, linework and use of colour throughout the series. A series of community screenings will share the documentaries with the public in an effort to engage communities in korero, as well as the documentaries’ online presence on the NZ Police New Cops website. 

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—A person of renown, a mana wahine. A settler of peace, a calming influence, a beacon of unity.

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