Māori artists talk about their battles with depression

Creative Natives Aotearoa wanted to bring more awareness to Mental Health Week, so went on a North Island tiki-tour catching up with different indigenous artists who have suffered or been affected by depression.

In six short days the three-man crew, led by Te Whenua Harawira, travelled to seven towns, spoke to 14 artists and captured hours of footage.

"We're talking to them about their journey thru depression and strategies they have put in place to manage their situation, overcome their situation address it."

Harawira, who has had her own battle with depression, believes it's an important issue that needs to be spoken about more freely.

"It affects probably every New Zealander, but people just don't know it. And that's the great thing about interviewing the different artists, is that each one has their own story, each one their own journey and what that journey looks like for them; each one has their own story of emancipation and how they've come out of it."

One of the artists they spoke to was former Mai Time TV presenter Bennett Pomana. He recalled his darkest moments on camera and the struggle to get up again.

"There were times and days where all I wanted to do was to just stay in my room, stay in bed, close the curtains and isolate myself from the world because I just felt ratchet, I just felt really low, I didn't know what the hell was going on."

Pomana's good friend and musician Markus Taukiri talked about chewing his teeth and sweating a lot, but not knowing what it was.

The week-long hikoi was an emotional one for the crew and the artists, but it's one that they're all grateful to be a part of - like DJ Poroufessor, who has taken his decks all around the world.

"This is brilliant, what Te Whenua is doing. We need our stories told. I'm grateful for having shared what I did, it's not all about flashing bells and hotels - there is a dark side that comes with it - and it's about knowing how to manage it and having strategies to keep safe."

Each artist's interview will go up on the Creative Native Aotearoa Facebook page in the coming weeks.

If you wish to talk to someone about mental illness or domestic violence, you can call Lifeline on 0800 543 354, the Depression Helpline on 0800 111 757 or the National Telehealth Service on 1737.

The Hui