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Kia ora, my name is Ross Mahuika Rawiri but everyone calls me Mahu. I am 28 years old, born and bred in Papakura and also raised at Whatapaka in Karaka. I am of Ngāti Tamaoho descent on my mother’s side (Rireana Maea Rawiri, nee Kirkwood) and Ngāti Paoa and Ngāti Whanaunga descent on my father’s side (Hauauru Eugene Rawiri). I am very thankful to them for the way they have raised me. Whānau is everything to me; my whānau gives me the strength and confidence to do anything.

Karakia, waiata, haka, mau rākau, hoe waka me te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, especially for tangihanga and kaupapa tūturu – these are a huge passion of mine and I see it as my duty as a Māori to uphold the values, principles and traditions of our koromātua (ancestors).  What helps to keep me humble and to keep my integrity intact is knowing that my koromātua are always with me wherever I go.

I would also like to acknowledge my partner Sandy, our son Haukawarua Ng-Hock and our little baby girl Ngahuia Maea Lian-Tee. They have definitely brought greater purpose to my life. I have a lovely family and I am most grateful to them for providing me with the greatest gift of all: ‘the gift of life’.

I work in the television industry as a video editor, primarily for Māori language shows. I was fortunate enough to act on a Māori television show called ‘Tōku Reo’ and was also an assistant editor for the New Zealand Feature film ‘Mt Zion’. Some of my personal interests include sports (touch and league), fishing and music.

A few months ago, Maggie Buxton approached me about her new app and her vision to brighten up some of the less popular parts of Papakura, utilising technology, visual and audio arts. I was asked to provide a piece of music for the playground area on Queen Street (near the Papakura Service Centre).  In this piece, I wanted to be eclectic by incorporating a few different genres like soul, funk & hiphop to cater for people from all walks of life. I also drew on some of my Māori roots by including a waiata about our mountain Pukekiwiriki, our habour Te Moana o Manuka etc.  And most importantly, I wanted to use music to acknowledge the mana whenua iwi and the Papakura community, who together make Papakura a very special place to me.