There is a big problem in NZ with gang violence, social issues, and racism,  also there is a disconnection from society within the young Maori community. This theme is evident in the films/books Boy, by Taika Waititi, Dark horse, by James Napier Robertson, yellow brick road, by Witi Ihimaera, Wild pork, and watercress, by Barry Crump.

Halfway through the text of the yellow brick road, the young boy truly believes that they are moving to a better life to start something new. On the way traveling to Wellington the “emerald city” their car breaks down on the side of the road, the young boy’s books fly off the car and land in the middle of the road.  The young boy runs out onto the road and as he does this cars scream by slamming on their breaks and honking the horn. A driver of another car comes up to the dad and says ” you Maoris are all the same, dumb bloody horis”. At the start of the story, the young boys say to his dad,” will the pakehas like us in Wellington dad?”.  So far the boy is starting to realize that the pakehas aren’t liking them too much. The young Maori boy is facing new things that he has been sheltered from his whole life. The family faces a dilemma of whether to live in poverty or move to the city and face racism and make a new life. The text leaves us wondering did the change to the city actually make their life better or did it leave them with more problems?

In the film boy, the director Taika waititi portrays the idea that young Maori boys feel like they do not belong in the modern society. Also, he shows that young kids are introduced to gang violence, drugs, and alcohol at a young age. After Alamein arrives boy wants to join the ” crazy horses gang”. One night Alamein is having a party and says to boy “wanna sip?, boy says yup” Alamein responds with ” 11 that’s pretty young for your first sip”, boy responds with ”chur”. Boy has no real parental figure to look after him and to stop him from getting into drugs and alcohol, once his grandma arrives back he realizes what he’s gotten into and how bad it is. Every young boy has potential but some struggle to find it due to the lack of upbringing as well as boy not having a father figure most of his life this has influenced his beliefs. His values and the way he sees things  are different to someone who has had a father figure throughout their upbringing.

Throughout the film Darkhorse, Mana is picked on a lot by his father’s gang members. Mana is constantly surrounded by gangs, drugs, alcohol, and violence. Mana is bred into a “the gang life” mana dad makes him feel like he has to become one of the ‘vagrants’. The father wants him to become a gang member at 15 so he hands him over to mutt, the dad says “he’s all yours now. Harden him up, we ain’t patching no child”. Mana is trying to remove himself from the gang life and is lucky to find himself a sense of belonging with the chess club, this chess club gives him a connection to his culture. Even though this was temporary before his dad found out and made him come and get patched. Mana has potential but due to the lack of guidance and a good role model he struggles to find out what it is.

In the book Wild pork and Watercress, the young boy Ricky is a troubled child, ricky throughout his life he has been involved with gangs, violence, disconnection from society and racism. Ricky is always getting into trouble because he doesn’t have a father figure to guide him and set a good example for him.  Ricky dresses and acts like a gangster, he even said: “We were living off what we could steal out of houses, shops and cars”.In the story we can see that ricky has always been underestimated and been called “dumb” by his peers and social workers, ricky says in the story that “White skinny boys were easier to do something with than fat overweight brown ones” this shows how riky felt at school and how the new zealand schooling system fails him. When Ricky arrives on the farm he instantly finds what he ejoys and what he’s good at. Ricky is surrounded by love and family, his Aunt bella calls him “lamb” this shows love towards him and makes him feel at home. Having a father figure in his life is supporting him because he has something to look up to.

These four issues are prevalent within the young maori community, most young maori kids struggle with these problems, often it is a generation to generation thing that continues.I believe everyone belongs and has a place in society, as the days go on we try to break the cycle so these kids can actually live a better live but will it ever end? There are times that boy, and the young boy in yellow brick road feel as they do not belong in society.Even though they felt like this i feel like you should never remove yourself from the culture that makes you happy. Maybe taking children out of these toxic environments and giving them some love and care will break this cycle new zealand has got itself into .

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. In your Boy paragraph, you’re going off topic by talking about Weirdo. Focus on the young Maori, Boy, and the social issues he is living with.

  2. You could link the word ‘POTENTIAL’ with all your main characters to link them more closely.


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